Sustainable Tucson is greatly concerned about TEP’s unambitious goal of transitioning to 30% clean energy by 2025. TEP is proposing modernizing the Sundt Generating Station by replacing two 1950's era steam units with ten natural gas-fired combustion engines. These RICE units would create significant greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality, the project expects to cause an increase in emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter (fine particles PM2.5 and coarse particles PM10) and volatile organic compounds.
Renewable energy, supplemented by energy storage systems, is a better option for many reasons. The Arizona Corporation Commission strongly urged TEP to turn in this direction.
Our advocacy team and other community members have been actively fighting the permit process for installation of the RICE units. Member Duane Ediger worked with Sierra Club's Grand Canyon Chapter and Sustainable Tucson to draft a public letter to the president of Tucson Electric Power Company.
The letter begins:
We need electricity generation that will leave a legacy of environmental recovery and take us off the path of harm. We implore you, together with all utility managers, to reduce and eliminate fossil fuel-burning plants from your energy mix as quickly as possible. We call on you to use the best and most recent data as you reconsider your current Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) and its reliance on natural gas. Your next IRP should focus on clean renewable energy and energy efficiency rather than fossil fuels in order to ensure that the next seven generations of Pima County residents and the surrounding communities have a chance to enjoy, treasure, and protect the beauty of our Sonoran Desert free of the pollution caused by fossil fuels. We urge you to start immediately in the heart of Tucson by installing solar plus storage at and near the IGS. (Irvington Generating Station.)
Please join Sierra Club's Grand Canyon Chapter, Sustainable Tucson, The Green Party, Arizona Interfaith Power and Light and many individuals and organizations in calling on TEP to act for the well-being of present and future generations.
Sustainable Tucson Core Group