By Jeff Jordan | Pinal Central
My neighbors and I celebrated when the Arizona Corporation Commission rejected the Salt River Project’s plan to build more pollution-spewing gas turbines near our homes in Randolph.
It was the first time anyone listened to us in the many decades that heavy industry has encroached on our community.
Now we hear that SRP isn’t giving up. It wants the Corporation Commission to reconsider its denial, and it hopes to buy our support.
That isn’t going to happen because my neighbors and I recognize something that SRP leaders refuse to see: The commission wisely advised SRP to consider all options by seeking competitive bids that aren’t tied to any specific technology. There are better ways to fill Arizona’s energy needs that won’t increase the burden on our Pinal County town.
I can remember the town my family moved to six decades ago. Surrounded by cotton fields, it was a beautiful place that provided opportunity for my parents and other Black Americans to seek a better life.
But over the years, cotton was replaced by heavy industry. An iron and steel factory. The El Paso high-pressure gas line. High-power electrical transmission lines. An asphalt emulsion plant, which once stunk so badly we had to leave our homes for days at a time.
And in 2009, Salt River Project built a dozen gas turbines, pumping methane gas into our lungs.
“SRP is mounting a desperate campaign to politicize the ACC’s recent rejection of its proposed $1 billion Coolidge gas plant in an effort to get the Commission to revisit its decision. As a public utility, it is unbelievable that SRP proposed to spend $1B on this project without even considering any alternatives and without any RFP process. In contrast, APS just did an “all-source-RFP” for the same thing and it turned out that a mix of renewables and batteries won the contracts. Presumably if SRP had done an RFP, the same thing would have happened In addition, SRP keeps telling policymakers it cannot use batteries yet utilities across the country and even APS just across the street, are proving SRP wrong.”
Court Rich, Rose Law Group Co-Founder and Director of Renewable Energy Law