SRP and NextEra commission 100-MW battery system to store Arizona solar power

SRP and NextEra commission 100-MW battery system to store Arizona solar power
SRP and NextEra Energy Resources, LLC have officially commissioned a 100-megawatt (MW) battery energy storage system to store the energy produced by the operating Saint Solar Energy Center in Coolidge, Arizona (Courtesy of NextEra Energy Resources)

Salt River Project (SRP) and NextEra Energy Resources have commissioned a 100-MW battery energy storage system with a four-hour duration to store the energy produced by the operating Saint Solar Energy Center in Coolidge, Arizona.

The Saint Solar facility has been serving SRP commercial customers since the end of 2020 and is one of nine SRP-contracted solar resources delivering more than 650 MW of clean energy to SRP customers. The new battery energy storage system can store enough of the solar facility’s clean energy to provide power to more than 22,500 average-sized homes for four hours.

The Saint Solar facility and the connected battery energy storage system are operated by subsidiaries of NextEra Energy Resources, and solar energy from the site is delivered to 11 SRP commercial customers to help meet their renewable energy goals. The addition of battery energy storage is meant to benefit all SRP energy customers. This new storage will be in addition to SRP’s existing large investment in storage resources, including more than 1,100 MW of battery projects to be online by the end of 2024.

L-R Julie Holmes, Vice President of Business Management at NextEra; Stephanie Rush, Senior Project Manager at NextEra; Bobby Olsen, Chief Planning, Strategy & Sustainability Executive at SRP; Jon Thompson, Mayor of the City of Coolidge; Gilbert Lopez, Director of Economic Development at the City of Coolidge; and JD Rulien, Director of Development at NextEra Energy Resources (Courtesy of NextEra Energy Resources).

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The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently projected that coal-fired power plants will generate less electricity in 2024 (599 billion kWh) than the combined generation from solar and wind (688 billion kWh) for the first time on record.

Solar is the fastest-growing source of U.S. electric power generation. EIA expects at least 37 GW of new solar generating capacity to come online in 2024, up 39% from 2023. The agency projected 23 GW to come online in 2023, a 33% increase from 2022.

SRP has contracted with NextEra Energy Resources for additional Arizona-based solar and battery energy storage projects. These include the Sonoran Energy Center, an approximately 260-MW solar facility with the ability to charge a 1-GWh battery energy storage system. Located south of Buckeye, Arizona, Sonoran Energy Center will be the largest operational battery project in the state, the companies said. Additionally, SRP has contracted for the output of Storey Energy Center, an 88-MW solar and battery energy storage system operating in Coolidge.

SRP expects a 25% increase in energy demand by 2030. To meet this demand, SRP says its future power system will balance adding more renewables and energy storage resources with flexible natural gas to avoid compromising affordability and reliability. This aligns with SRP’s recently announced Integrated System Plan.

In addition to the battery storage SRP will have in operation in 2024, SRP is prepared to add 1,500 MW of new battery resources and 1,000 MW of long-duration energy storage capacity from pumped hydro by 2035. SRP also plans to add 7,000 MW of new renewable resources, which includes 6,000 MW of new, large-scale solar resources by 2035. This will triple SRP’s current extensive portfolio of solar resources scheduled to come online by the end of 2025.