Innovation, Technology and Customer Engagement are Key to a Sustainable, Smart Grid
Arizona Public Service Co. (APS) is working with customers, partners and stakeholders to power more than 1.3 million homes and businesses with 100% clean, carbon-free energy by 2050. As the utility marks the second anniversary of its Clean Energy Commitment, APS customers are benefiting from more clean and renewable resources, receiving discounts on the latest smart home technology and earning rewards and rebates for their participation in APS’ suite of energy conservation programs.
“We have a bold vision of what Arizona’s energy future will look like, and it’s going to take innovation on all fronts to make this happen. As we work to add more clean resources to our energy mix, we’re taking advantage of the abundant opportunities in the customer technology space and developing cutting-edge programs tailored to the needs of customers,” said Jeff Guldner, APS Chairman, President and CEO. “This is about meaningfully engaging and partnering with our customers through smart programs that increase the reliability of our electric system, cut back on carbon emissions, preserve Arizona’s blue skies and save money.”
In addition to developing industry-leading customer programs, APS is using customer technology to:
Expand APS’ Virtual Power Plant (VPP) and empower customers to conserve – APS’ demand-response programs use a virtual network of smart home products, like thermostats, water heaters and pool pumps, to reduce energy use on Arizona’s hottest summer days and shift energy demand to when more solar power is available. Chief among the programs connected to the APS VPP is the company’s signature residential thermostat program, APS Cool Rewards. With more than 57,000 residential smart thermostats enrolled, customers benefit from incentives, discounts and energy-savings options for voluntarily conserving energy. APS Cool Rewards boasts a capability of shedding more than 80 megawatts of energy from APS’ smart grid. This energy avoidance saves customers money, helps the environment and builds a more robust electrical grid. APS Cool Rewards is recognized as one of the five largest Bring Your Own Thermostat (BYOT) programs in the country and one of the largest utility-managed thermostat virtual power plants. APS has a 2022 goal of reaching 110,000 thermostats to provide over 130 megawatts of summer capacity.
- Help business customers reach their clean-energy goals – To support Arizona’s business community, APS’ new Green Power Partners program will provide businesses with special options to reach their sustainability goals and transition to 100% clean operations. The program will launch in 2022. Last year, APS launched the Going Smart & Going Green program for small businesses, which provides free web-based training in energy conservation and other ways to save.
- Partner with customers to explore the latest in residential battery storage technology – Energy efficiency technology is quickly evolving and advancing. APS is partnering with residential customers to learn more about the capabilities of home battery storage units through its APS Residential Battery Pilot. Participating customers receive special incentives for installing battery systems and sharing information about how those systems perform. APS will use this information to shape a quality customer experience, learn how battery technology can be leveraged to strengthen grid reliability and understand more about how residential battery storage units can serve rooftop solar customers and optimize APS’ electrical system.
- Team up with customers to create more access to electric vehicle (EV) charging stations – Nationally, the transportation sector emits more carbon than the utility sector. To help achieve a cleaner environment and encourage more drivers to adopt EVs, APS is providing business customers with free EV-charging equipment, installation and maintenance through the Take Charge AZ program. To date, APS has installed more than 400 Level 2 charging plugs at businesses, schools and government buildings across Arizona. Last year, APS announced a partnership with Electrify America to install DC Fast Chargers in the local communities of Globe, Payson, Prescott, Sedona and Show Low. Construction is underway and scheduled to be completed this year. As part of its participation in the Arizona Statewide Transportation Electrification Plan, APS set a goal to support the adoption of 450,000 light-duty electric vehicles in APS service territory by 2030.
APS continues to make progress in delivering clean and reliable energy, adding more than 440 combined megawatts of solar and wind power, and working to secure several hundred more megawatts of renewable energy through an All Source Request for Proposals (RFP)
. Additionally, in 2021, APS entered into agreements totaling 420 megawatts of battery energy storage and expects to add more storage capacity by the conclusion of this RFP.
APS began the journey to its 2050 clean energy goal with an energy mix that was already 50% clean, thanks to the combination of renewable resources, solar facilities and the Palo Verde Generation Station – a core asset in APS’ generation fleet. As the nation’s largest energy producer of any kind for 30 years straight, Palo Verde is a crown jewel in Arizona’s energy infrastructure.
Last year, APS was honored by the Environmental Protection Agency with the ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year Award for excellence in customer programs. Additionally, APS’ parent company, Pinnacle West Capital Corporation, was recognized by the global environmental non-profit CDP for leadership in corporate sustainability with a prestigious A- score. Pinnacle West is only one of two North American electric utility companies to achieve leadership scores for tackling climate change and protecting water security.