Arizona pushes ambitious energy plan

7 February 2018

Sian Crampsie

The US state of Arizona has proposed implementing a target of 3000 MW of energy storage as part of an ambitious energy modernisation plan.

The state’s Corporation Commissioner Andy Tobin has presented a plan that aims to make Arizona a leader in clean energy usage, energy storage and innovation. Notably, the plan calls for 80 per cent of Arizona’s electricity generation to come from clean energy by 2050 along with the goal of having 3000 MW of energy storage deployed by 2030.

“This plan establishes Arizona as a nationwide leader in clean energy,” said Commissioner Tobin. “Living in a desert like we do, our goal has to be to address peak demand. Reducing usage in these peak windows will save Arizonans millions of dollars, but we also think we can do it in a way that is clean and maintains grid reliability.”

The modernization plan would review Arizona’s current energy policies, including the Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff (REST). Tobin credits REST for making Arizona a national leader in the adoption of renewable energy but says it’s time for an update.

“It’s been over a decade since the Corporation Commission passed the REST and the energy landscape in Arizona and across the country is drastically different today,” said Commissioner Tobin. “It’s no longer enough to just install solar panels as quickly as possible. We need to pair these resources with new technology to maximize their effectiveness and maintain stability.”

The plan calls for a new “Clean Peak” focus in the REST to encourage dispatchable clean energy with energy storage. It is centered around five guiding principles: resilience, innovation, economic development, resource diversity, and affordability and reliability.

Expanding energy storage would give Arizona the opportunity to capture low priced energy during non-peak hours and reinject that energy back into the grid during on-peak rate periods. The 3000 MW target is by far the most ambitious for energy storage in the USA.

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