Our Path to a Sustainable Energy Future
Ambitious. Realistic. Responsible.
TEP’s 2020 Integrated Resource Plan lays out the path we'll follow over the next 15 years to serve our customers' energy needs. We're planning to provide more than 70 percent of our power from wind and solar resources as part of a cleaner energy portfolio that will reduce carbon emissions 80 percent by 2035. In this way, we'll avoid the production of more than 50 million tons of carbon dioxide over the next 15 years - equivalent to removing three-quarters of a million cars off the road.
TEP’s increasingly sustainable resource portfolio will be supported by efficient natural gas fired generators and energy storage systems. The plan also proposes retirement of our remaining coal-fired power plants over the next 12 years.
Load and Resources (MW)
Key elements of TEP’s plan include:
- 2,457 megawatts (MW) of new wind and solar power systems, including 457 MW that will be coming online by 2021.
- 1,400 MW of new energy storage systems.
- A proposal to ramp down and ultimately retire TEP’s two units at the coal fired Springerville Generating Station (SGS) in 2027 and 2032. The timeline would allow TEP to reduce the plant’s workforce through attrition rather than layoffs while providing time for the company to help the local community mitigate the impact of the units’ retirement.
- Eliminating the use of surface water for power generation and a 70 percent reduction in groundwater use.
- Continued support for energy efficiency programs to reduce usage and peak power demands.
Water Consumption (million gallons)
Our plan emerged from a process that evaluated 24 potential portfolios, including some designed to achieve certain clean energy benchmarks and others suggested by various stakeholders. After reviewing the portfolios at a public workshop, we developed a final portfolio for the 2020 IRP that represents the best balance of cost, performance, environmental impact, and risk.
Our carbon reduction goal, developed in partnership with the University of Arizona’s Institute of the Environment, represents our fair share of worldwide efforts to limit warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius under the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Reducing Reliance on Coal
Our decision to close Units 1 and 2 at SGS was not made lightly, as SGS has helped power our community’s growth for decades. Our team at SGS has committed itself to making our eastern Arizona plant the most reliable, well-run coal plant in the country. Their success and commitment will allow us to transition to less carbon-intensive resources at a cost-effective pace while working toward a thoughtful transition for our employees and their community.
TEP’s plan proposes reducing and ultimately eliminating its use of coal-fired resources, which produce about twice as much CO2 as natural gas generation. That transition is already underway, as TEP is on track to retire more than 600 MW of coal generation by June 2022 through recent and scheduled closures at the Navajo and San Juan Generating Stations. TEP also receives some power from two units at the Four Corners Generating Station that are scheduled to close in 2031.
The exit from our remaining coal units will take some time. While coal is no longer the least cost energy resource, it still provides cost–effective capacity, reliability and ancillary services.
Beginning in 2023, TEP plans to transition to seasonal operations at SGS that idle one of the units during cooler months. Both units are still needed to meet summer peak demand.
Clean Energy Expansion
TEP’s plan calls for a dramatic expansion of renewable energy resources, including some systems that are already underway. The company is working to complete two large, New Mexico wind farms and a local solar plus storage project that will more than double its community-scale clean energy resources by next year.
But that’s just the beginning. The IRP calls for enough new wind and solar generating capacity to provide more than 40 percent of the company’s power in 2030, more than 60 percent by 2033 and more than 70 percent by 2035. The expansions coincide with the planned addition of energy storage systems, which are projected to cost significantly less after 2030 than they do today.