Salt River Project taps NextEra Energy to add battery storage to Arizona project


Salt River Project, a not-for-profit energy company serving more than 2 million people in central Arizona, signed a contract with a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources to add a 100 MW battery storage system to the existing 100 MW solar plant, Saint Solar. The Saint Solar plant, located in Coolidge, Arizona, is operational and currently serving customers. The 100 MW battery, expected to be operational in June 2023, will provide four hours of storage energy.

“The early deployment of large-scale battery storage systems will help us acquire operational experience with this new technology that will play a critical role in decarbonizing the power system,” said Kelly Barr, SRP’s Chief Strategy, Corporate Services and Sustainability Executive.

Negotiation of this contract began prior to SRP’s issuance of its current all-source request for proposals (RFP) and does not affect the amount of generation SRP is seeking through that process.

The Saint Solar plant is owned and operated by a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources. SRP selected the plant for the first phase of its Sustainable Energy Offering, through which SRP delivers solar energy to 11 of its largest business customers, giving them the ability to lower their carbon emissions by receiving a portion of their energy from solar power. The addition of battery storage at the Saint Solar plant will not reduce the amount of solar energy that those customers receive.

This project brings SRP’s battery storage commitment to nearly 500 MW by 2023.

“SRP should be commended for its commitment to battery storage, which will enable it to better serve its customers with renewable energy over more hours of the day, even when the sun isn’t shining,” said Matt Handel, senior vice president of development for NextEra Energy Resources. “We are very pleased to add energy storage to Saint Solar and continue to support SRP’s renewable energy goals.”

Under the terms of the agreement, NextEra Analytics, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, will provide the company’s proprietary Optos software platform to SRP for three years. Optos is an end-to-end energy management solution using artificial intelligence. It leverages data from nearly 5 GW of renewable energy assets owned and operated by NextEra Energy Resources and will help SRP optimize its renewable energy use.

SRP has contracted with NextEra Energy Resources for additional Arizona-based solar and battery storage projects including the Sonoran Energy Center, which will be the largest solar-charged battery project in the state. Sonoran Energy Center will be an approximately 260 MW solar system with the ability to charge a 1 GW/h energy storage system, and it will be built south of Buckeye. Additionally, SRP contracted for the output from an 88 MW solar and battery storage system called the Storey Energy Center to be built in the City of Coolidge. Both projects will be operated by subsidiaries of NextEra Energy Resources and are scheduled to become operational in June 2023.

SRP has also recently placed into service a 25-MW battery storage facility at its Bolster Substation, which is adjacent to its Agua Fria Generating Station, located in Peoria. The battery system consists of a series of Tesla Megapacks that are connected directly to SRP’s energy grid. SRP is also contracted for output from the Pinal Central Energy Center, a 20 MW solar plant paired with a 10 MW solar-battery system located in Pinal County, and the Dorman battery storage system, which is a 10 MW standalone battery storage system located in Chandler.

The utility has also closed the Navajo Generating Station, which was the largest coal plant in the Western U.S. and will have retired 2600 MW of coal-fired generation by 2032. SRP has a commitment to reducing carbon intensity (from 2005 levels) by more than 65% by 2035 and 90 percent by 2050.

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