Salt River Project increases share in nuclear plant to meet growing demand

10 December 2020

Community-based, not-for-profit Arizona public power utility Salt River Project (SRP) says it is increasing its share of the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station - from 17.5% to 20% - to meet growing customer demand while reducing its overall carbon intensity and protecting it from price spikes.

Palo Verde (Image: APS)

SRP's board of directors has approved the purchase of a portion of Public Service Company of New Mexico's (PNM) share of the three-unit plant, west of Phoenix, Arizona, and certain transmission assets for about USD70 million plus the cost of the associated nuclear fuel inventory.

"The purchase of 114 megawatts of safe, reliable and zero-carbon emitting energy from PNM in 2023-24 will help SRP meet customer demand that is growing significantly faster than the national average and defer planned capital expenditures associated with the construction of potential new generating assets. The purchase price represents an attractive economic opportunity for SRP as it is a fraction of the cost to build a new generating facility - something that has been part of SRP's resource plan for years," the company said.

"The Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station is a high-capacity resource that is well managed and extremely reliable," SRP CEO and General Manager Mike Hummel said. "The opportunity to economically add this baseload, zero-carbon emitting energy resource to our portfolio will benefit our customers for years to come."

The purchase will help SRP meet its 2035 Sustainability Goals, which call for a reduction of CO2 emitted from generation by 65% by 2035 and 90% by 2050. It will also provide the company with increased protection from potential price spikes or scarcity of other resources by adding to the diversity of its current resource portfolio, Hummel said.

The purchase of the first 104 MW is expected to be completed in January 2023 and the remaining 10 MW in 2024, which will bring SRP's ownership share of Palo Verde to 803 MW.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News