Tucson Electric Power’s Latest Advancements in Renewable Energy and Storage
Tucson Electric Power (TEP) is set to construct a substantial battery energy storage facility in the southeastern part of Tucson. This initiative aims to meet the daily energy demands of customers using solar energy.
Known as TEP’s Roadrunner Reserve system, it will become the largest energy storage system within TEP’s collection and one of Arizona’s most sizeable systems. With a capacity of 200 megawatts, this system can store up to 800 megawatt-hours of energy, providing sufficient power for about 42,000 households for a duration of four hours when operating at maximum capacity. The system is on track to commence operations in the summer of 2025.
TEP anticipates the grid-connected battery will be charged during the morning and early afternoon when solar resources are at their peak productivity. The stored energy will then be supplied later in the day, aligning with the typical high energy usage periods of customers. This system will be constructed adjacent to a TEP substation in the southeast part of the region.
Susan Gray, TEP’s President and CEO, expressed, “Roadrunner Reserve will play a vital role in ensuring grid reliability as we responsibly expand our community’s renewable energy resources. This innovative system will be particularly valuable in meeting the heightened energy demands of summers.”
At present, TEP boasts 51 MW of energy storage capacity, with the largest system being the 30 MW battery situated at the Wilmot Energy Center.
TEP will be the proprietor and operator of Roadrunner Reserve, with its design and construction entrusted to DEPCOM Power, Inc., headquartered in Scottsdale. This new system will employ lithium iron phosphate battery units, a modern technology known for its extended lifespan and enhanced safety compared to other battery systems.
Roadrunner Reserve is aligned with TEP’s 2020 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), outlining the company’s objective to reduce carbon emissions by 80% and add up to 1,400 MW of energy storage by 2035. TEP is scheduled to submit its next IRP on November 1, 2023.
The development of Roadrunner Reserve builds upon recent renewable resource additions, including:
- The Oso Grande Wind Project, a 250-MW installation located near Roswell, New Mexico, owned and operated by TEP, generating enough energy to serve the annual electricity needs of approximately 100,000 homes.
- The Wilmot Energy Center, which features a 100-MW solar array and a 30-MW battery energy storage system south of Tucson International Airport. This facility is owned and operated by NextEra.
- The Borderlands Wind Project, a 99-MW facility situated about 100 miles south of Gallup, New Mexico, also owned by NextEra, comprising 34 turbines that supply power to approximately 26,000 homes annually.
- The Raptor Ridge solar system, a 12.5-MW installation located near Interstate 10 and Valencia Road, capable of generating sufficient power to meet the annual electricity requirements of about 2,500 homes. It serves homeowners and renters participating in TEP’s GoSolar Home program.
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