President Trump's coal industry decisions not affecting Tucson E - Tucson News Now

President Trump's coal industry decisions not affecting Tucson Electric Power

Tucson Electric Power plant (Source: Tucson News Now) Tucson Electric Power plant (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

President Trump is working to strengthen the coal industry in the U.S. So what might that mean for Tucson Electric Power?

It appears that it will mean, in the short term, nothing. No change.

"Those decisions really do require a lot of planning. We have to consider costs to the customer. We have to consider environmental regulations," TEP spokesman Joseph Barrios said. 

TEP's large Tucson plant has not used coal in more than a year.

In August 2015 a truck dumped the last load of coal TEP would use there, though TEP still uses coal at some other plants in Arizona and New Mexico.

"We've been working to gradually move away from coal, to reduce our reliance on coal generating resources and move more toward renewable resources and natural gas resources which burn cleaner than coal," Barrios said.

He said natural gas is less expensive than coal now.

Barrios said TEP also is looking at new technologies to store energy from renewable resources, such as solar and wind, to make them more reliable.

"We anticipate that in the future, we might invest more heavily in that kind of a technology. So as renewables grow, we'll have some complimentary technology that will essentially make it as reliable as more traditional generating resources," Barrios said.

He said the state of Arizona wants utilities to produce 15 percent of their power from renewable resources by 2025.

TEP is working toward producing about double that by 2030, according to Barrios.   

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