Five organizations serving Arizona communities impacted by the transition away from coal-fired power plants were selected this fall to receive a cumulative total of over $134,000 in economic development grants from the Utilities’ Grant Funding Program.
The program provides critical support to communities near impacted coal plants to develop new, sustainable economic strategies for their residents and other stakeholders. Funding is provided by Tucson Electric Power (TEP), Arizona Public Service (APS) and Salt River Project (SRP). This is the program’s second round of grant awards made in 2023.
Northland Pioneer College (NPC) will receive a grant award of $25,000 to redesign its Energy and Industrial Technician (EIT) program. NPC will hire a consultant to conduct a feasibility study exploring alternative energy and other electro-mechanical offerings that will inform curriculum development and new program implementation. The college is responding to the industry growth of wind and solar power generation while offering electrical and instrumentation training and industrial maintenance skills used across multiple industries. This revised program is expected to begin in the Fall 2024 semester at the new NPC Skills Center on the White Mountain Campus in Show Low.
“Northland Pioneer College works hard to meet the needs of our local communities by providing relevant programs that lead to high-wage jobs,” said Jeremy Raisor, Dean of Career and Technical Education. “Whether students are beginning a new career or plan to change careers, the college provides opportunities for students of all ages to develop the skills they need in the workplace. We are grateful to receive this funding made possible by our valued utility partners and look forward to the new educational and workforce possibilities it will provide our students.”
The City of Page will receive $25,000 to help cover the costs of hiring a grant-writing consulting firm to prepare applications for larger federal grants. The firm is also identifying additional grant opportunities to support transportation and economic development efforts, including broadband and community facilities and business incubators.
“I want to thank our Arizona utilities that so generously contribute to this grant so that small communities like Page can do good work for their residents,” said Darren Coldwell, City Manager. “Without the generosity of the Utilities Grant Funding Program, we would never be able to partner with such a firm.”
The Round Valley Unified School District will receive $25,000 to help hire a grant writer who will assist with funding opportunities.
“We greatly appreciate this funding and the abilities that it will provide,” said Cass Pond, Business Manager for Round Valley. “The objective is to obtain several grants that will provide funding for some of the infrastructure, curriculum, and program development to help our students for future generations. We are excited for this opportunity.”
The Town of Eagar will receive $25,000 to support Round Valley Fire and Medical. Since the towns of Eagar and Springerville consolidated first responder resources in January, department leaders have been working diligently to improve all areas of service, said Britney Reynolds, Community Development Director.
“Funds will be used to continue pursuing necessary training, education, and equipment in fire safety, fire inspection, medical training, and several other areas necessary to operate a full-time station, a service that has never been available to the Round Valley area,” Reynolds said.
Eagar’s Public Works, Water and Sewer Department also will receive a $25,000 grant that will provide matching funds for a state water conservation program grant that will pay for meter system upgrades. These improvements will help save water, speed operations, and improve accuracy.
“Water is one of the most precious resources, particularly in Arizona, and needs to be used wisely,” Reynolds said.
Joseph City Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports Joseph City Schools, will receive $9,140 to provide matching funds for a grant that will provide local businesses with training through the Joseph City Chamber of Commerce and job development opportunities for the area. Utilities’ Grant Program funding will also support technical assistance in securing additional grant opportunities.
“The funds made available to us through the Arizona Utilities Grant will help us in planning and preparing for the future in our small community,” said Bryan Fields, President of Joseph City Foundation. “This award has helped us in securing a jump start on obtaining other economic funding opportunities that will certainly bring economic benefits to our community.”
TEP, APS and SRP pledged a combined $1 million in awards available through the Utilities’ Grant Funding Program. Area-specific tribal, state and local governments, public schools, economic development groups and nonprofit groups are eligible to apply. More details about submission eligibility and requirements are available here.
The third grant application cycle is now open. Applications are due by Friday, Dec. 15, 2023.
TEP provides safe, reliable electric service to more than 445,000 customers in Southern Arizona. For more information, visit tep.com. TEP and its parent company, UNS Energy, are subsidiaries of Fortis Inc., which owns utilities that serve more than 3 million customers across Canada and in the United States and the Caribbean. For more information, visit fortisinc.com.
APS serves approximately 1.4 million homes and businesses in 11 of Arizona’s 15 counties, and is a leader in delivering affordable, clean and reliable energy in the Southwest. The company is committed to serving customers with 100% clean power by 2050. As owner and operator of Palo Verde Generating Station, the nation’s largest producer of carbon-free electricity, and with one of the country’s most substantial renewable energy portfolios, APS’s current energy mix is 50% clean. With headquarters in Phoenix, APS is the principal subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp. (NYSE: PNW).
SRP is a community-based, not-for-profit public power utility and the largest electricity provider in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving approximately 1.1 million customers. SRP provides water to about half of the Valley’s residents, delivering more than 244 billion gallons of water (750,000 acre-feet) each year, and manages a 13,000-square-mile watershed that includes an extensive system of reservoirs, wells, canals and irrigation laterals.