Project Energy

Is there a 25-year plan for the future of Arizona Energy? The Canada Arizona Business Council (CABC) regards energy as the most important pillar of economic development. CABC initiatives rely on the availability of future power. These initiatives include manufacturing, water augmentation, mining, transportation, workforce, agriculture, foreign direct investment (institutional grade international capital markets and private equity), and more. The new frontier of energy is here, and we must lead the state into the future by devising and implementing a diverse plan that includes cutting-edge, high-tech, and multiple sources of power. This will ensure adequate energy grids to sustain and bolster Arizona’s current and future growth surge over the next several decades. Are we ready?

Focusing on power and energy projects of scale at this specific moment in time is crucial for the future desert dwellers of the State. The ever-changing landscape of technology will bring new requirements for the grid. We know that the new demand for energy is directly in front of us and will include EV batteries and electric charging stations, advanced manufacturing, mining of resources, infrastructure, population growth, and AI robotics. All of these will place exponentially higher demands on the power grids immediately and even more so in the future.

The energy plan must be economical, efficient, accessible, and dependable utilizing all technologies and sources including, AI, clean energy, and natural resources. These may vary depending on geographical needs in different areas of the state. We are also seeing a rise in decentralized power sources, such as solar panels on homes, government facilities, and buildings, which is expected to also significantly alleviate the burden on main power plants. The future must provide abundant and accessible power to support population growth, manufacturing, transportation, mining, tourism, and business in urban and expanding rural communities. Looking at all possibilities and incorporating a multi-layered plan is imperative. 

At present, Arizona relies on a mix of energy sources, with natural gas (46%), nuclear power (27%), coal (10%), solar energy (10%), hydroelectric power (5%), and wind (1%) making up the bulk of the state’s energy production. The Palo Verde nuclear power plant has 3 reactors, uses wastewater from local communities to cool condensers, generates 4,000 megawatts, and serves 4 million people in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas. While renewable energy sources like solar, geothermal, biomass, wind, and hydropower are widely used, the state still depends on coal and natural gas to meet the high power demand, particularly during the hot summers in the desert. This raises the following questions: which power source will emerge as the cleanest, most cost-effective, and accessible in the future, or most likely will there be multiple sources for different uses?

This message is addressed to Arizona’s governmental agencies and business leaders who fully understand that economic progress and the state’s future heavily depend on the components mentioned above. With new energy innovations in high-tech and AI, access to efficient power is increasing for areas throughout the state. CABC has launched this initiative to engage its community and support the efforts of government and private sector energy leaders in the State. This is a collective effort, and CABC aims to contribute to the team, looking ahead to a successful and unified 25-year plan that paves the way for the next 50 years of the State’s energy supply. Arizona has a very bright economic future, but the degree of brightness depends on the energy leadership and immediate decision-making within the State. It’s time to either tap in or tap out. The necessity of prompt decision-making regarding an updated energy infrastructure and abundant sources of energy cannot be overstated. The time for research and discussion has expired, now it’s time to take action!

*STATE OF ARIZONA UTILITIES: Ajo Improvement Company, Arizona Public Service (APS), Capital Power Corp., City of Mesa, Columbus Electric Co-op, Dixie Escalante, Rural Electric Association, Duncan Valley Electric Cooperative, Garkane Power Association, Graham County Electric Cooperative, Mohave Electric Cooperative, Morenci Water & Electric Company, Navopache Electric Co-op, Salt River Project, Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Co-op, Southwest Gas, Transcanada, Trico Electric Cooperative, Tucson Electric Power, UNS Electric, El Paso Natural Gas.