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Could Solar Shine In A Tucson City-Utility Partnership?

A city in the sunny southwest, Tucson is wondering how it can maximize its use of cost-effective, economy-boosting solar power. Is a partnership with the electric utility, as seen in Minneapolis, the answer?

ILSR’s Director of Democratic Energy gave this presentation to several audiences on a recent (delightful) visit to Tucson, Arizona, to explore the dissonance between the electric utility’s 15-year plan and the city’s energy and environmental goals, and to inspire city residents and the utility to look for common ground.

Click below for the video presentation or review the slides.

Highlights

  • Tucson, AZ, has the best solar resource in the U.S.
  • The incumbent utility, Tucson Electric Power, is owned by Canadian company Fortis and responsible to the elected Arizona Corporation Commission.
  • Its 15-year resource plan includes a lot of substitution for new natural gas power in place of coal, still a water intensive source of energy in a desert.
  • The plan includes a much smaller portion of new solar energy despite Tucson’s excellent solar resource.
  • The utility’s resource plan includes inflated costs for solar energy.
  • Residents of Minneapolis have compelled their private electric company into partnership with the city around its energy goals, and Tucson could do the same.
 
 
 
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Written By

John directs the Democratic Energy program at ILSR and he focuses on energy policy developments that best expand the benefits of local ownership and dispersed generation of renewable energy. His seminal paper, Democratizing the Electricity System, describes how to blast the roadblocks to distributed renewable energy generation, and how such small-scale renewable energy projects are the key to the biggest strides in renewable energy development.   Farrell also authored the landmark report Energy Self-Reliant States, which serves as the definitive energy atlas for the United States, detailing the state-by-state renewable electricity generation potential. Farrell regularly provides discussion and analysis of distributed renewable energy policy on his blog, Energy Self-Reliant States (energyselfreliantstates.org), and articles are regularly syndicated on Grist and Renewable Energy World.   John Farrell can also be found on Twitter @johnffarrell, or at jfarrell@ilsr.org.

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