SRP Board Approves Continued Resource Development at Copper Crossing
Project includes additional solar, two natural gas turbines with an output of less than 100 MW, and new energy storage technologies
The SRP Board of Directors voted today to approve the first phase of a multi-phase continued development project at SRP’s Copper Crossing facility to create the “Copper Crossing Energy and Research Center.” The current site houses a 20 megawatt (MW) solar facility that provides energy to SRP customers. The continued development will feature generating resources needed to support and enable SRP’s transition to a lower carbon resource portfolio, including advanced solar technology, two flexible natural gas turbines each with an output of less than 50 MW, and small-scale, long-duration energy storage technologies.
“This project will help SRP meet the Valley’s growing power capacity needs, and specifically, the forecasted critical need for additional generation resources by summer of 2024,” said SRP General Manager and CEO Mike Hummel. “By bringing online a variety of resources, including additional flexible, quick-start natural gas, we will have more reliable capacity at times of peak demand, the ability to back up our growing portfolio of renewable resources, and reliable output during long-duration system events like damaging storms and wildfires.”
The first phase of continued development of the Copper Crossing facility will add two flexible natural gas turbines on SRP-owned land adjacent to the existing Abel Substation on West Judd Road and the Copper Crossing Solar Ranch on West Bella Vista Road in Florence, AZ. A series of 69 kV poles, lines and infrastructure will connect the new facilities to the existing Abel Substation. SRP Management anticipates site preparation for this project may begin as early as October 2022.
On Aug. 23, the SRP Board’s Power Committee unanimously voted to recommend the approval of the first phase of the project to the full SRP Board. Prior to this meeting, SRP re-notified landowners and residents near the Copper Crossing facility about the proposed project and invited them to provide comment at the SRP Committee and Board meetings.
The two flexible natural gas units being added to the Copper Crossing Energy and Research Center will be used primarily to serve spiking energy demand during the hottest days of the year and as backup units to renewable resources. This type of generation differs from baseload generation, as the Copper Crossing turbines will not run for many hours per year, and as such, will not use much fuel and will be cost efficient.
The proposed second phase of continued development at Copper Crossing is to add advanced solar generation to the site, which will be voted on by the SRP Board in late 2022. The third phase is to develop small-scale, long-duration energy storage which will go to Board vote in early 2023.
Additional development phases of the site may be proposed at a later date. These phases could continue to explore various resources such as solar, storage, additional flexible natural gas turbines, or other resources SRP may need that best fit its system needs and requirements in the transition to a more sustainable resource mix.
“SRP has projects underway that will take us to more than 2,025 MW of added solar by 2025 and among the largest early investments in battery systems of any Western U.S.-based utility with more than 500 MW contracted to be operational by 2023,” said Hummel. “We will also be announcing more renewable and battery storage projects in the next several months resulting from our All-Source RFP process. All of these resources – including the continued development of Copper Crossing – are required to meet our near-term capacity needs and our Board-established carbon reduction goals.”
Those who wish to learn more about this project can visit the project website.
SRP is a community-based, not-for-profit public power utility and the largest electricity provider in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving approximately 1.1 million customers. SRP provides water to about half of the Valley’s residents, delivering more than 244 billion gallons of water (750,000 acre-feet) each year, and manages a 13,000-square-mile watershed that includes an extensive system of reservoirs, wells, canals and irrigation laterals.