SRP prepares to meet Valley power needs as demand grows

Jun 15, 2023, 4:25 AM | Updated: 8:09 am

(Salt River Project Photo)...

(Salt River Project Photo)

(Salt River Project Photo)

PHOENIX — Salt River Project is increasing its energy supply as demand rises and Arizona’s population continues to grow.

Last year SRP delivered a record amount of energy to valley customers in mid-July. 

To meet increasing demand, SRP has installed two flexible natural gas turbines at the power company’s Agua Fria Generating Station in Glendale. 

Grant Smedley, director of resource planning for SRP, tells KTAR News 92.3 FM the turbines can quickly ramp up and down as the company needs to respond to system conditions. 

“They provide us with a great deal of flexibility to be able to come on when we need them, whether it’s to respond to a storm or whether it’s just to respond to high peak temperatures,” Smedley said. 

The turbines, derived from aircraft engines, can start up and reach full power within 10 minutes. 

One area the turbines will be utilized is when peak demand occurs, the company said. 

“These units will help us to meet peak demand for energy that occurs kind of in the late afternoon, early evening in our services territory when our customers are coming home, cooking dinner, turning on appliances, so they’re ideal for turning on to be able to get through those periods,” Smedley said. 

Smedley added the company is experiencing a lot of growth within service territories.

The turbines will also allow SRP to add more renewable energy to the company’s portfolio by backing up battery storage, wind, and solar power. 

SRP will also utilize a 25-megawatt battery storage installation to meet peak demand by storing energy when customers use it the least. The battery will then discharge the saved energy during peak demand hours. 

“The battery storage that we’re installing, we believe, has a lot of promise into the future in terms of helping us meet that increasing customer need, also helping us to back up those renewable resources,” Smedley said. 

Smedley explained planning ahead is a part of the company’s effort to avoid blackouts due to increased energy demand, but the planning goes beyond the new installations. The company goes through a development of a resource plan each year to ensure SRP has enough power to meet forecasted needs, along with holding operating reserves. 

“Think of those as units that we hold that are ready to come on quickly if we need to provide power in situations we might not expect, whether it’s temperatures being higher than forecast or unit outages on our system,” Smedley said. 

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SRP prepares to meet Valley power needs as demand grows