There’s good economic news for Florence. The SRP board of directors this week approved the second phase of continued development at the Copper Crossing Energy and Research Center in Florence.
The center includes a utility-scale advanced solar generation facility capable of generating up to 55 megawatts of solar energy, or enough to power approximately 12,000 homes, according to a press release.
This will be the first utility-scale solar asset in SRP’s portfolio that SRP self-develops, owns and operates.
Historically, SRP has contracted generation from renewable resources through power purchase agreements with developers, as these entities have access to tax credits. The recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act allows not-for-profit public power utilities such as SRP to directly receive federal incentive payments for renewable projects.
This will give SRP greater ability to develop, operate and advance more renewable resources and potentially reduce costs for customers as SRP transitions its generation fleet.
"Constructing and operating this facility will allow SRP to learn more about advanced solar operations in preparation for the future," stated Kelly Barr, SRP’s chief strategy, corporate services and sustainability executive, in the release. "We look forward to having direct dispatchability of the system and others like it and having firsthand real-time access to performance analytics to better understand how solar will continue to support our power system."
The site will have advanced solar generation, which will give SRP the opportunity to evaluate emerging commercial technology, and the experience necessary to transition to a low-carbon resource portfolio.
The development will be on SRP-owned land next to the existing Abel Substation on West Judd Road and Attaway Road, adjacent to the existing 20-MW solar plant on the north side of the site, which currently provides energy to SRP customers.
"With this development and other recent awards, SRP is contracted for over 2,000 MW of our goal to add 2,025 MW of new utility-scale solar energy by 2025," stated Barr. "This, along with other continued development phases at the Copper Crossing Research and Energy Center will support the growing energy needs of the Valley and enable SRP’s transition to a lower carbon resource portfolio."
The first phase of near-term build-out of the Copper Crossing Energy and Research Center will add two flexible natural gas turbines with a total output of less than 100 MW, which the SRP board approved in September. A third proposed phase for small-scale, long-duration energy storage technologies is expected to go to the SRP board for approval in 2023.
SRP has not yet completed the design of the new solar portion of the Copper Crossing site. Detailed engineering, material procurement and construction activities for the solar facility are expected to take approximately 24 months.
With the addition of this solar project and SRP’s other recently announced battery storage projects and utility-scale solar projects, SRP expects that nearly half of all retail energy delivered to SRP customers will come from carbon-free resources by 2025.