Opinion: APS made a huge bet on solar — and the case that it needs some competition


Arizona Public Service wants to focus on renewable 

APS says it will go carbon-free by 2050. That’s a big bet that captive ratepayers shouldn’t have to cover.

By Robert Robb | The Republic 

(Editor’s note: Opinion pieces are published for discussion purposes only.)

The announcement by Arizona Public Service that it will transition to providing 100% carbon-free power by 2050 should cinch the argument about Arizona adopting competitive electricity markets.

APS says that it currently gets roughly 50% of its generation from fossil fuel sources — half of that from coal and half from natural gas.

So, at a minimum, the company says that it will replace half its existing generating assets in just 30 years. That’s a monumental undertaking.

But this actually understates the scope of the task. APS includes in its calculations generation it doesn’t actually produce, electricity from rooftop solar systems within its service territory. Fossil fuels are an even bigger component of what APS produces on its own.

Moreover, APS acknowledges that going carbon-free requires technological innovations that don’t currently exist, in all likelihood massive improvements in batteries that store solar energy during the day to be used at night when the sun isn’t shining.


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