Arizona has not enjoyed the warmest relationship with renewable energy. The state’s renewable energy standard is among the lowest of all US states and its utility industries invested millions recently to beat back a more aggressive goal proposed by advocacy groups led by Tom Steyer. Ironically, in neighboring Nevada, voters approved a renewable energy standard very similar to the one Arizona rejected with very little drama.
So it is encouraging to hear that the University of Arizona and Tucson Electric Power have reached an agreement that will see the school get 100% of its electricity from TEPCO by late next year or early the following year. The utility is presently constructing a wind farm in New Mexico and a solar power plant with battery storage southeast of Tucson. A portion of the electricity generated by those two facilities will be used to power the U of A campus, making it the largest research university in America to rely exclusively on renewable electricity. It will still depend on natural gas for some of its other energy needs. The deal was approved unanimously this week by the Arizona Corporation Commission.
The deal means the school will pay slightly more for its electricity than it does now, so what’s in it for the university? Long term price stability.
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