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Salt River Project seeks 400 MW of solar

Salt River Project, a Tempe, Ariz., public power utility that serves more than 1 million customers, said on Jan. 15 that it has issued requests for proposals seeking up to 400 MW of new solar power projects.

The solicitation is a part of Salt River Project's, or SRP's, plan to acquire 1,000 MW of new solar energy by 2025. SRP has set a goal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 60% by 2035 and by 90% by 2050.

The request asks that half of that capacity be sited on the Navajo Nation's land. The other half is not location-specific, the utility said. The projects must be between 100 MW and 200 MW in size and be able to achieve commercial operation by the end of 2023. Proposals are due by May 4. SRP said it expects to select the new resources by July 2020.

In November 2019, SRP permanently shut down the last unit of its 2,250-MW coal-fired Navajo generating station and announced that it had invested in the Sonoran Energy Center Solar, a planned 250-MW solar-plus-storage plant west of Phoenix owned by NextEra Energy Inc. subsidiary NextEra Energy. It also invested in NextEra's planned 88-MW Storey Energy Center Solar Project, a solar-plus-storage facility south of Coolidge.

The Navajo Nation is also committing to build more renewable energy resources. "It's the beginning of a new era for the Navajo Nation — the start of new opportunities," Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said in a press release.

"We recognize that coal-based energy provided many benefits for the workers and their families, but times are changing and energy development is changing," Nez said. "As Diné people, we have always been resilient in times of change, and that's what we are doing by seeking developers for up to 200 megawatts of solar development with SRP. We are looking to become the leader in renewable energy throughout the Southwest and Indian Country."