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Ocotillo modernization alters Tempe skyline, supports clean energy future

The skyline in Tempe changed significantly when the Ocotillo Power Plant’s 178-foot-tall steam units came down in the first months of 2020. Those units stood watch over Tempe for nearly 60 years and were a familiar sight to travelers on the Loop 202 in the East Valley. Their removal marked the final phase of the modernization project taking place at Ocotillo over the last few years.

Through the Ocotillo Modernization Project, we installed five high-tech gas turbine generators and retired two 1960-era gas-fired steam generators. The project provides a variety of benefits for customers and the community, including:

  • Environmental: Decreases water-use and emission rates at the plant.
  • Economic: Increases property-tax revenue for city, county and state agencies.
  • Reliability: Supports reliability for our customers and helps meet summer peak energy needs.
  • Flexibility: Adds enhanced responsiveness to our generating mix.

A photo of the new units at the Ocotillo Power Plant juxtaposed with an image of the old units.

That last point is important for Arizona’s clean energy future. The modern Ocotillo Power Plant helps us integrate more renewable energy into our system because its new quick-start generators can be up and running in less than six minutes – delivering energy to customers when clouds roll in or the sun sets and solar production wanes. This type of flexible generation is critical as we put the pieces in place to deliver on our goal to provide 100% clean energy for customers by 2050.

The Ocotillo Power Plant is now a quieter, cleaner-running and more efficient plant – and a cornerstone of Arizona’s sustainable energy future.

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