Tucson Electric Power (TEP) has unveiled plans to develop next-generation power plant in Tuscon, as part of its efforts to support the expansion of renewable energy.

The company will recruit a contractor to design and build a new facility near Wilson Sundt generating station on its 344-acre Irvington campus.

The new facility will include ten flexible and fast-responding natural gas reciprocating internal combustion engines with a combined capacity of up to 200MW.

Half of the units are expected to be operational by mid-2019, while the remaining units will come online by mid-2021.

The company has selected reciprocating engines to help compensate for power fluctuations and other issues associated with the expansion of renewable energy resources, including a growing supply of private solar power systems.

When reciprocating engines become operational, the company will shut down two out of four steam generator units at its Sundt generating station, helping to reduce operating costs and improve the plant’s emissions profile.

Currently, TEP has around 541MW of renewable generating capacity, which is enough to meet power needs of around 115,000 homes.

The firm’s generating capacity includes 254MW of community-scale solar systems and 202MW of private solar power systems.

 Recently, TEP announced plans an additional 800MW of new renewable capacity by the end of 2030, enabling to increase its total renewable energy portfolio to around 1,200MW.

TEP president and CEO David Hutchens said: “The addition of these efficient natural gas resources will help us to preserve safe, reliable and affordable service for customers as our community continues to expand its reliance on renewable energy.”