Arizona Energy Providers and Universities devising plan to achieve Carbon Neutrality

May 16, 2022
The coalition began its work with the establishment of a new ‘Center for an Arizona Carbon-Neutral Economy’ within the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory at the Arizona State University Tempe campus. The center will create a regional hydrogen hub

Energy providers Arizona Public Service, Salt River Project, Tucson Electric Power and Southwest Gas and public universities, the Arizona State University, the University of Arizona and the Northern Arizona University have formed a coalition to devise strategies and solutions to address the climate crisis.

Professionals from the four energy providers and three universities will bring their expertise to this interdisciplinary coalition and help the state of Arizona achieve its goal of becoming a carbon neutral economy.

The coalition began its work with the establishment of a new ‘Center for an Arizona Carbon-Neutral Economy’ within the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory at the Arizona State University Tempe campus. This center will create a regional clean hydrogen hub.

Peter Schlosser, Vice President and Vice Provost of the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory at ASU, welcomed the establishment of the new center.

 “The need to address the causes and impacts of climate change has never been more important. By partnering with Arizona’s universities and peer utilities, this statewide hub will help advance hydrogen as a clean-energy solution with tremendous potential to accelerate decarbonization,” said Jeff Guldner, Arizona Public Service Chairman, President and CEO. “It also will further Arizona’s reputation as a national leader in the clean energy transition while creating economic opportunities for our state and its people.”

When used as a fuel, hydrogen releases clean energy and only produces water, not CO2. This means much of the energy used in creating pure hydrogen is “stored” within the gas and provides carbon-free energy or feedstock on demand.

The clean hydrogen hub, which the coalition will establish, will include hydrogen producers and consumers and a connected infrastructure. It will ensure an in-sync supply and demand with storage as buffer.

“The development of a regional clean hydrogen hub could provide critical support for our ongoing transition to a cleaner, cleaner grid,” said Susan Gray, President and CEO of Tucson Electric Power and its parent company, UNS Energy. “We’re looking forward to working together to turn this vision into real, sustainable growth for Arizona’s economy.”

If successful, the hub will address the problem of CO2 emissions, grow the Arizona economy, attract new businesses and create jobs. It will support a reliable and resilient electric grid, offer economic development opportunities in communities and deliver clean energy for transportation and industrial sectors.

The coalition will involve communities, which were impacted by the closure of fossil-fuel plants, in the development of the hydrogen hub. Stakeholders will be part of a collaborative network, which involves tribes, businesses, universities, communities, government agencies, and non-profit organizations. The involvement of the diverse stakeholders will help create a new hydrogen ecosystem and industry in Arizona.

“Southwest Gas is committed to helping our customers and the communities we serve achieve emissions reductions goals. Advancing hydrogen technology and increasing availability of hydrogen to the market is strategically important to achieving our clean energy goals. With existing infrastructure that can be used to transport this powerful clean fuel, Southwest Gas is excited to work with this coalition and stakeholders to lead efforts to bring a regional hydrogen hub to our state,” said Laura Nelson, vice president of sustainability and public policy for Southwest Gas.

 Arizona’s resources, like available undeveloped land, clean energy resources, world-class innovative universities and a growing industry base, as well as a healthy environment for innovation and startups and a skilled workforce will be leveraged to produce, transport, store and use hydrogen.

 “Today’s partnership will pave the way towards a carbon-neutral economy by 2050, creating the jobs of the future and fueling innovation and sustainable energy sources throughout our state,” Arizona senior Sen. Kyrsten Sinema said.