Press Release: Billion Dollar Gas Expansion Plan Fails in Arizona
The Coolidge Gas Expansion Project failed at the Arizona Corporation Commission
Phoenix, AZ (APRIL 12, 2022) — Today the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) voted 4-1 in the best interest of Salt River Project (SRP) customers and all Arizonans when it denied approval of the SRP’s proposal to expand the Coolidge Generating Station, a methane gas plant. The SRP, Arizona’s second-largest electric utility, proposed a plan to double the size of the Coolidge Generating Station by adding 16 new gas units, a total of 820 MW, promising decades of fossil fuel production and pollution. After eight months of deliberation, and thousands of customer comments rejecting the proposal, the decision process has come to an end at the ACC.
“Arizonans already suffer from the extreme heat, water and air pollution, and high energy bills. Our state does not need more fossil fuels,” Yara Marin, Interior West Regional Director at Vote Solar. “The ACC’s decision to deny the SRP from expanding their gas plant is hopeful news for Arizonans and most importantly, a win for the Randolph community, who already suffer from decades of environmental injustices in their neighborhood.”
This decision is a win for all Arizonans, but especially for the Coolidge residents who would bear the highest environmental burdens and the SRP customers who would have been stuck with the nearly 1 billion dollar bill of a dirty methane plant for decades. Arizona will maintain its journey to cleaner air, healthier communities, and better jobs.
“We see this as a step in the right direction and a sign that the ACC is listening to the people. The ACC must continue to center the needs of communities in their decisions and promote policies and plans that support a clean energy future. Today the ACC recognized that we can have cleaner, more affordable energy while also protecting the health of our communities” says Kate Bowman, Interior West Regulatory Director at Vote Solar.
We thank Commissioners Jim O’Connor, Anna Tovar, Sandra Kennedy and Lea Marquez Peterson for standing up for SRP ratepayers and our communities, and rejecting the expansion of Coolidge generating station.
This decision will send SRP back to the drawing board to better identify resources that can meet future energy needs, while meeting the expectations of Arizonans. We believe battery storage paired with solar is well-suited to serve as exactly the type of flexible peaking resource that SRP is looking for, as many other utilities have found through their own competitive procurement processes. We hope that in the future, the utility will engage in meaningful dialogue with stakeholders and use a competitive, all-source solicitation process to identify new resources that are truly in the best interest of SRP customers and our environment.