Southern Arizona electric utility Tucson Electric Power (TEP) has outlined its plans to add about 800MW of new renewable energy capacity by the year 2030 through expansions in solar and wind power capacities.

The company has revealed its goal to generate at least 30% of its electricity from renewable resources by the same timeline.

To meet the future energy needs of its customers, TEP will invest in expansion of renewable energy, efficient and innovative technologies, and exploring new methods to cut down dependence on coal-fired generating facilities.

TEP president and CEO David G. Hutchens said: “We’re evolving from a traditional utility to a more technology- and consumer-focused provider of energy products and services while maintaining reliability, convenience and affordability for our customers.

“Our plan recognizes the continued financial and operational benefits of owning Units 1 and 2 at the Springerville Generating Station, Arizona’s most efficient, cost-effective coal-fired power plant.

“However, renewable energy, energy efficiency and cost-effective natural gas technologies will play an increasingly prominent role in our future resource plans.”

The electric utility has come up with a long-term strategy via its 2017 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) paper which describes how it will develop a more responsive and sustainable resource portfolio.

As part of its goal to add 800MW of new renewable energy, TEP has agreed to buy power from a new 100MW wind farm operated by NextEra Energy Resources. Apart from that, TEP stated that it is assessing proposals for a new 100MW solar plant that would be developed and owned by a project partner.

While investing in innovative technologies to address power fluctuations, TEP will also make increased usage of energy storage systems to increase power output levels.

The electric utility has also decided to retire and replace few of its coal-generating power plants.

In February, TEP had voted alongside other owners of the 2.25GW Navajo Generating Station to continue its operations till 2019 end provided a lease extension agreement is reached with the Navajo Nation. TEP has a 7.5% stake or equivalent to 168MW in the coal-fired power plant which is being prepared for decommissioning.

Image: TEP plans to boost its renewable energy capacity by 800MW by 2030. Photo: courtesy of Tucson Electric Power.