The Arizona Corporation Commission recently approved an amended certificate of environmental compatibility for the Salt River Project’s Coolidge Expansion Project, a flexible, fast-ramping natural gas plant.
Arizona public power utility SRP said the plant will help it “cost-effectively and reliably meet the region’s growing energy needs as the utility works to add more solar, wind and storage resources.”
The 575-megawatt Coolidge Expansion Project will support the integration of solar, wind and storage resources.
The amended CEC was made possible, in part, due to a recent settlement under which SRP agreed to additional mitigation efforts and to provide additional financial support to assist the Randolph, Ariz., community.
“We are grateful to the Randolph community for the opportunity to listen to and address their concerns regarding the Coolidge Expansion Project,” said Bobby Olsen, SRP Associate General Manager and Chief Planning, Strategy and Sustainability Executive, in a statement. “SRP looks forward to working with the community to follow through on the commitments we’ve made.”
With the ACC decision, SRP will implement the following mitigation and support measures after construction starts on the Coolidge Expansion Project:
- SRP will reduce the number of generation units for the expansion from 16 to 12, slightly move the location of the new units to make them less visible to the community and agree to limit the operational use of the new Coolidge Generating Station units to 30% capacity factor;
- SRP will provide significant funding towards the construction and operations of a Randolph Community Center;
- SRP will provide significant funding for community support in the form of a K-12 mentoring program and for preparation and implementation of a community development plan;
- The utility will add additional air quality measures including further road paving to offset dust in the area; and
- SRP will provide significant funding for the design and construction of community markers.
In addition, SRP will provide funding for educational and recreational activities for families in Randolph, double the amount of funding for the scholarship and job training programs for Randolph residents and their descendants and significantly fund a home rehabilitation program to upgrade homes in Randolph.
As part of earlier proceedings, SRP agreed to a number of mitigation efforts for Randolph, regardless of the CEC being granted, including:
- Scholarship program up to $100,000 per year (totaling $2 million over 20 years) for residents of Randolph and their descendants.
- Job training program up to $100,000 per year (totaling $2 million over 20 years) for residents of Randolph and their descendants.
- Fund the preparation of a nomination for the National Register of Historic Places.
- Hire a grant writing firm to provide support for access to federal and state grants. The firm will provide training and prepare grant applications.
- Visual screening and community landscaping.
- Road paving to reduce dust in the area.
SRP noted that it has been working with the Randolph community and Pinal County on these earlier commitments.