Renewable resources are clean or "green" energy sources that have a much lower environmental impact than conventional energy sources. Renewable resources are replenished naturally — which means they will never run out.
SRP has established a goal that by 2020, SRP will meet a target of 20% of its expected retail energy requirements with sustainable resources. Among them are a diversified resource mix of wind, geothermal, large hydro and low-impact hydro, and solar.
Renewable resources at SRP
At SRP, we pursue innovative and effective renewable energy solutions by:
- Regularly expanding our sustainable energy portfolio to include a diverse mix of renewable energy technologies;
- Tapping the expertise of partners, advisors and environmental leaders to refine our renewable energy pursuits; and
- Investing in educational programs and events that introduce students to renewable energy solutions.
Sustainable portfolio during Fiscal Year 2017
SRP's total current renewable capacity is 838 megawatts (MW)1 and includes the following resources:
- Biomass: 14 MW
- Solar, utility-scale 2: 114 MW
- Wind, Dry Lake 1 and 2: 127 MW
- Geothermal 3: 43 MW
- Hydro: 382 MW
- Solar, rooftop: 158 MW
1Capacity values are nameplate, which is the maximum amount of electric energy that a generation source can produce under specific conditions.
2Utility-scale solar includes Copper Crossing, Queen Creek, Sandstone and Kayenta.
3Currently, 55 MW of geothermal are being sold to another utility. These are short-term contracts and are not counted toward SRP's Sustainable Portfolio for the duration of the contracts. Also, receiving 18MW of CalEnergy geothermal energy in 2017. Total of 87MW is expected by the end of 2020.
Note: SRP operates on a fiscal year of May 1 through April 30.
Solar electric plants use the sun, a free and inexhaustible source of fuel, to produce emission-free electricity.
SRP receives 65 MW of solar energy from the Copper Crossing Solar Ranch and Sandstone Solar, both located in Florence, AZ. The combined output from both facilities is 94 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of solar energy, which is enough energy to meet the needs of about 6,700 SRP customers' homes each year. The Queen Creek solar facility provides 19MW and Kayenta 30MW of solar energy.
In addition, SRP has a 200 kW solar electric system at the Agua Fria Generating Station in Glendale, as well as two 100 kW solar electric systems at the Rogers Substation in Gilbert. Together, these three plants send close to one million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of power to the grid each year, or enough energy to power 72 homes.
Hydroelectric generation is an important part of the history of Salt River Project, and a technology that remains core to our power production portfolio.
The water captured by SRP's dams on the Salt and Verde River systems store tremendous potential energy released through hydroelectric generation stations built into five of SRP's seven dams: Theodore Roosevelt, Horse Mesa, Mormon Flat and Stewart Mountain dams on the Salt River system; and C. C. Cragin Dam on the Verde system.
These generating facilities produce a combined 382 MW of power to serve customers in the Valley.
Low-impact hydroelectric generation
SRP's system of canals also plays a part in utilizing the energy stored in water.
The term "low-impact" refers to hydrogeneration that produces clean power using a canal's natural drop in elevation. Because a dam is not needed to create a drop in elevation, no negative environmental impact is made on the site.
SRP installed a low-impact hydroelectric plant on the Arizona Canal at an historic site known as Arizona Falls (located near 56th St. and Indian School).
SRP diversified its renewable energy portfolio in October 2009 by purchasing 100% of the output from the Dry Lake Wind Power Project, located near Heber, Ariz.
SRP receives 100% of 127 MW generated from the wind farm, or enough to power more than 20,000 homes in the metropolitan Phoenix area.
Geothermal power is the better energy source in SRP's renewable energy lineup.
Instead of burning a fuel to heat water into steam as seen in conventional forms of generation, heat from the Earth is used to create the steam that powers the turbines. Geothermal energy is considered renewable energy because no fuel is consumed and the energy is from a naturally occurring source.
The renewable-energy credits are generated by geothermal power plants that produce electricity from naturally occurring geothermal steam. The steam is formed when production wells tap into superheated water reservoirs thousands of feet beneath the Earth's surface.
- Imperial Valley Geothermal Plants: SRP has signed a 23-year agreement with CalEnergy, LLC to purchase up to 18 MW of geothermal energy a year from a number of plants located in the Imperial Valley of Southern California.
- Cove Fort Geothermal Project: SRP has signed a 20-year agreement to purchase the entire output of the Cove Fort Geothermal Project, a new 25-MW geothermal power generation project located in Beaver County, Utah.
Biomass energy is generated from the combustion of fuel, which is typically sourced from wood. SRP has 14 MW of biomass energy in our portfolio through June 2023. The energy is generated from the Novo BioPower Plant located in Snowflake, Ariz. The plant is required to obtain the majority of its fuel from forest thinnings, which helps promote healthy forests. Learn more about SRP's forest health initiatives.