Coolidge 1

SRP to Request the ACC Rehear Its Decision to Deny the Coolidge Expansion Project

May 18, 2022
Without expansion, SRP’s ability to deliver reliable power is at risk by 2024.

On Monday, May 16, SRP filed a request for rehearing by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) to reconsider its decision to deny SRP a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility (CEC) to expand its peak-demand natural gas facility in Coolidge. Unless reconsidered and reversed, the ACC’s vote will impair the reliability of the SRP system, creating serious risk of insufficient resources necessary to meet customer demand in 2024. It will also undermine SRP’s ability to integrate additional renewable resources, as the utility will lack critical quick-start, flexible generation in times of peak demand.

On April 12, the ACC rejected the recommendation by its own Power Plant and Transmission Line Siting Committee to approve a CEC for SRP’s Coolidge Expansion Project. This Committee is a selected group of experts who conducted a thorough assessment of SRP’s application, including eight days of public hearings and testimony. In addition to the Committee’s recommendation for the ACC to approve the proposed project application, the ACC’s own utility staff confirmed SRP’s application was complete and recommended the ACC approve it.  

This decision poses a risk to SRP’s ability to reliably serve customers and also weakens SRP’s ability to integrate additional renewable resources into its system. As it stands, SRP will lack critical generation from quick-start turbines that help provide backup power when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. SRP is steadfast in its commitment to reduce carbon intensity by 90% by 2050 and has made some of the industry’s largest investments in renewable resource technologies, including solar and battery storage. However, in today’s volatile market, which is challenged by supply chain shortages and delays, SRP must develop proven, reliable solutions to ensure a clean energy future.

SRP informed Randolph community members of its intent to appeal during a regularly scheduled Community Working Group meeting, hosted by SRP with representatives from Randolph, the City of Coolidge and Pinal County, on the morning of Friday, May 13. SRP is committed to providing long-term mitigation and support to the Randolph community. SRP proposed, and the Line Siting Committee approved, millions in mitigation support projects as part of the initial CEC approval, including road paving in and around the community, scholarships and job training, and landscaping to screen the expansion and beautify the area. With the appeal, in the event of an approval of the CEC, SRP is proposing additional measures, including additional road paving, home repairs and energy efficiency improvements, and a community center. Combined, these measures total approximately US$ 18 million in community support.

This is a long-term commitment to help preserve the community’s history and ensure that the area’s approximately 150 residents thrive in their homes for decades to come.

To put the committed value in context, when SRP expanded its Santan Generating Station located in Gilbert, the total value of that project was estimated at US$ 20 million, with over 16,000 houses in the 2-mile area surrounding the facility. The nearly US$ 18 million in support for the Randolph community equates to approximately US$ 120,000 per resident, which far exceeds Santan’s proposed per-household mitigation, which equated to US$ 1250 per household.

SRP has taken a leading role in the utility industry’s transition to clean energy resources and remains committed to its carbon reduction goals. If the ACC revisits its decision and grants the CEC for the proposed Coolidge Expansion Project, SRP customers can again be promised reliable, affordable and sustainable energy while SRP continues to build renewable resources that transition Arizona to a clean energy future. 

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