Palo Verde Generating Station operated by Arizona Public Service is the largest power producer of any kind in the U.S., generating carbon-free, nuclear energy (Photo: Business Wire)

APS to Deliver 100% Clean, Carbon-Free Electricity by 2050

Jan. 29, 2020
The goal includes a nearer-term 2030 target of achieving a resource mix that is 65% clean energy.

Arizona Public Service (APS) recently announced a goal to deliver 100% clean, carbon-free electricity to customers by 2050. The company has been on a trajectory of increasingly clean energy through solar power innovation, major investments in energy storage technology, carbon-free nuclear operations and advances in energy efficiency solutions. 

The goal — which is the boldest of all Arizona electric companies as well as one of the most ambitious in the country — includes a nearer-term 2030 target of achieving a resource mix that is 65% clean energy, with 45% of the APS' portfolio coming from renewable energy. The company will end all coal-fired generation by 2031, seven years sooner than previously projected.

"We see incredible things ahead for Arizona and are excited to power our state’s future with electricity that is 100% clean," said APS Chairman and CEO Jeff Guldner. "We’re starting from an energy mix that is 50% clean today, including energy efficiency and electricity from one of the nation’s largest solar fleets and the country’s most powerful carbon-free and clean energy resource — the Palo Verde Generating Station."

On the journey to a carbon-free future, the APS plans to ensure reliability and affordability through intelligent investments in renewable resources and developing technologies, nuclear power produced at Palo Verde Generating Station, and energy efficiency and other programs for customers.

Achieving this 100% clean goal while maintaining reliability of service at affordable rates for customers will also rely on:

  • Existing power sources in the near term, including some natural gas, as the APS makes a sensible transition to clean generating resources. In time, the APS expects technological advances to eliminate the need to supplement renewable energy with even low-emitting carbon resources like natural gas in order to maintain reliable service around the clock at reasonable prices.
  • Continued modernization of the electric grid as the APS builds an advanced infrastructure that is more responsive and resilient, supports more renewables, minimizes outages, and provides customers more choice and control over their energy decisions.
  • Energy storage solutions to increase the effectiveness of renewable resources and provide more clean energy to customers after the sun has set. These will include APS’ previously announced plans for an 850-MW expansion of large-scale energy storage, mostly paired with the company’s innovative solar farms.
  • Policy decisions that leverage market-based technology and innovation, and keep Arizona and its utility industry an attractive place to invest.
  • Electrification of the state’s different economic sectors, particularly the transportation sector and specific building applications. In addition to supporting affordability for utility customers, electrification will drive a cleaner environment and more energy-efficient operations throughout the economy.
  • Evolving regional and market-based solutions, such as participation in the Western Energy Imbalance Market, which is saving customers tens of millions of dollars each year.

Collaboration with stakeholders and regulators will be key to the plan’s ultimate success, with full transparency regarding the APS’s roadmap and progress through Arizona’s established process of Integrated Resource Plans. Flexibility, reliability, and affordability will remain fundamental planning principles that will guide the addition of carbon-free resources at a reasonable cost, and on pace and scale with customers’ growing and changing energy needs.

"Our existing generation facilities, employees, and communities have made possible the affordable and reliable energy the APS has delivered to customers for decades," Guldner said. "As we set out to generate only clean power by 2050, it will mean transitioning away from coal. We do not take that transition lightly and are committed to working with our employees and stakeholders on the economic and other effects of retiring those assets."

"As a leader in innovation, Arizona State University (ASU) is excited to see Arizona’s largest electricity provider reimagine our state’s energy sector with this bold commitment to clean power generation," said Dr. Michael M. Crow, president of the ASU. "We are excited to be among the early collaborators in the APS’ approach, which will include diverse stakeholders from across Arizona, in charting this course to a carbon-free future so imperative to our long-term quality of life."

"The APS is taking the lead among U.S. utility companies to achieve 100% carbon-free energy," said Nat Kreamer, chief executive officer, Advanced Energy Economy. "Advanced energy technologies like renewable energy, electric vehicles (EVs), storage, energy efficiency, and nuclear will all play important roles. Advanced Energy Economy and its member companies are already working with the APS to find innovative solutions that can help achieve its clean energy goals, and we look forward to continuing this work together.”

The benefits of a 100% clean power portfolio will include helping customers achieve their own sustainability goals and attracting more employers to Arizona who want to be served fully by carbon-free resources at a reasonable cost and without compromising reliability.

"Our commitment is to maintain a leadership role in shaping a forward-thinking, healthy, and prosperous Arizona where people can build a better life," said Guldner. "We believe this initiative will encourage economic development in clean and innovative industries, create thousands of jobs, and advance a healthy environment. Now comes the hard work of making it happen, which we are excited to carry out with others dedicated to securing a bright future for Arizona."

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