Tucson, Ariz. – Tucson Electric Power and the City of Tucson have signed a letter of intent to work toward powering 100 percent of city operations with renewable energy.
The May 5 letter reflects progress made since Susan Gray, TEP’s President and CEO, pledged on Jan. 23 to begin discussions of a clean energy supply agreement with the city. That commitment emerged from discussions about a new franchise agreement between the city and TEP, which has been submitted for approval by city voters as Proposition 412 in a May 16 special election.
“We’re proud to help the city achieve its clean energy objectives as part of our own efforts to provide cleaner, less carbon-intensive energy for all of our customers,” Gray said.
During negotiations over the franchise proposal, Mayor Regina Romero asked on behalf of city leaders for an agreement similar to TEP’s clean energy supply contract with the University of Arizona. That contract, finalized in 2021, provides the university’s main campus with carbon-free energy from TEP’s Oso Grande Wind Farm in southeast New Mexico and the Wilmot Energy Center solar array near Tucson.
TEP provides service to the city at more than 2,000 locations ranging from office buildings to water wells, adding complexity that would need to be addressed in any such agreement. But both TEP and the City of Tucson are committed to seeing it through.
“I am very pleased to be working on transitioning City operations to 100 percent renewable energy through a power supply agreement with our partners at TEP,” Romero said. “Mayor and Council have made a clear commitment to reduce our emissions to net zero by 2030, and this is an important step in advancing that goal. Taking bold action to combat the effects of climate change helps us protect our most vulnerable community members and our beautiful Sonoran Desert.”
Earlier this year, Mayor Romero and the Tucson City Council approved a Climate Action and Adaptation Plan that calls for proactive steps to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the negative impacts of a changing climate. Proposition 412 would provide funding for some elements of that plan, including efforts to expand clean energy use, expand electric vehicle infrastructure, develop community resiliency centers and plant trees in areas at greater risk of urban heat island effects due to lack of existing vegetation.
TEP has been an active partner in some of the city’s climate action initiatives. The company has provided funding and invested in infrastructure to support the ongoing electrification of the city’s transit fleet and has contributed to Mayor Romero’s Million Trees Initiative, among other efforts.
City leaders will continue working with TEP to develop terms, standards and timelines for execution of a clean energy supply agreement as soon as possible. The agreement would not be affected by the outcome of Proposition 412, though its passage would provide dedicated funding for climate action while strengthening the longstanding partnership between the city and TEP.
TEP provides safe, reliable electric service to more than 442,000 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.
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