11:33 AM

SRP joins interdisciplinary effort to create a carbon-neutral economy by 2050

Unique coalition aims to develop a clean hydrogen ecosystem to help cut carbon dioxide emissions in the state

Four Arizona energy providers and the state’s three public universities are forming a new, interdisciplinary coalition with the goal of attaining a carbon neutral economy in Arizona. Faced with the complexity of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions across economic sectors, and the urgency to respond to the climate crisis, this coalition will combine its expertise to launch a new center to begin working immediately on strategies and solutions.

“This challenge is bigger than any one company or industry. SRP appreciates the support and vision of this diverse set of partners willing to roll up their sleeves, work together and find solutions to become a low-net-carbon Arizona.” said Mike Hummel, CEO and General Manager of Salt River Project.

Leading professionals from Arizona Public Service, Salt River Project, Tucson Electric Power and Southwest Gas, and from Arizona State University, the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University, will play a crucial leadership role in developing a statewide strategy for deep decarbonization — approaching carbon neutrality for the whole economy. Additionally, the coalition will be instrumental in finding solutions that help address climate change and sustain Arizona’s thriving economy in a carbon-neutral future.

To begin, the coalition established a new ASU-based center called the “Center for an Arizona Carbon-Neutral Economy,” housed within the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory™ on the ASU Tempe campus. Among its first undertakings, the center will pursue the creation of a regional clean hydrogen hub.

Hydrogen can fuel chemical reactions that release clean energy and produce only water – H2O, not CO2. That means much of the energy used to create pure hydrogen can be essentially “stored” in the gas itself and used to provide carbon-free power on demand. Tapping this potential could help reduce carbon emissions in many sectors of the economy.

In late 2021, the U.S. Congress passed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which the President signed in November 2021. The law establishes program guidance and funding to create regional clean hydrogen hubs, which the coalition will seek. The clean hydrogen hub, while still being fully defined, will include hydrogen producers, consumers, and a connected infrastructure so that supply and demand are in sync and appropriately buffered with storage.

A successful regional clean hydrogen hub will help address difficult-to-reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the state, as well as grow Arizona’s economy, attract new businesses and create high-quality jobs. When fully operational, the new hub would help support a reliable and resilient electric grid, ensure clean air and benefit distressed communities, such as those that would otherwise experience adverse impacts from the closure of fossil-fueled plants.

“Hydrogen is a sustainable energy option we are excited to further explore with our industry and research-focused peers in this collaborative coalition,” said Kelly Barr, Chief Strategy, Corporate Services and Sustainability Executive at SRP. “It could likely play a significant role in transitioning coal communities to a new economic way of life, while also supporting the grid with clean energy, which are vital initiatives for SRP, Arizona and the entire U.S.”

Involving these communities in the process is a critical component of the coalition’s work. By engaging a wide range of diverse stakeholders, the group will develop a shared strategy to create a new hydrogen ecosystem and industry in Arizona. These stakeholders will be part of a collaborative network that directly involves communities, tribes, businesses, universities, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and other interested parties in the process.

Collectively defining the vision, governance, and organizational structure for the hub will require a deeper dive into a myriad of assets and resources available in the state.

Arizona is one of the nation's sunniest states, with significant available undeveloped land. It has the largest nuclear power plant in the nation, energy providers that have committed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, world-class innovative universities, an established and growing industry base, and a healthy environment for innovation and start-ups. These resources, along with the region’s highly skilled workforce, can be used in producing, moving, storing and using hydrogen. While Arizona is currently a net energy importer, these assets could also help the state become an energy exporter, bolstering its economy.

To read this full announcement on ASU's website with remarks from other participating partners, click here.

About SRP

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.