Four Arizona energy providers and the state’s three public universities are forming a new, interdisciplinary coalition with the goal of attaining a carbon neutral economy in Arizona.
Faced with the complexity of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions across economic sectors, and the urgency to respond to the climate crisis, this coalition will combine its expertise to launch a new center to begin working immediately on strategies and solutions.
Leading professionals from Arizona Public Service Co., Salt River Project, Tucson Electric Power and Southwest Gas, and from Arizona State University, the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University will play a crucial leadership role in helping Arizona explore options and strategic pathways that move the state toward a carbon-neutral and thriving economy.
To begin, the coalition established a new ASU-based centre called the “Center for an Arizona Carbon-Neutral Economy,” housed within the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory™ on the ASU Tempe campus. Among its first undertakings, the center will pursue the creation of a regional clean hydrogen hub.
A successful regional clean hydrogen hub will help address difficult-to-reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the state, as well as grow Arizona’s economy, attract new businesses and create high-quality jobs. When fully operational, a new hub would help support a reliable and resilient electric grid, provide clean energy for the electric, transportation and industrial sectors, and potentially create economic development opportunities in communities that are adversely impacted by the closure of fossil-fueled plants.
Stakeholders will be part of a collaborative network that directly involves communities, tribes, businesses, universities, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and other interested parties in the process.
Arizona is one of the nation’s sunniest states, with significant available undeveloped land and abundant clean energy resources. It has the largest nuclear power plant in the nation, energy providers that have committed to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, world-class innovative universities, an established and growing industrial base, and a healthy environment for innovation and start-ups. These resources, along with the region’s highly skilled workforce, can be used in producing, moving, storing and using hydrogen. While Arizona is currently a net energy importer, these assets could help the state become an energy exporter, bolstering its economy and helping others’ efforts to achieve its clean energy goals.
Peter Schlosser, Vice President and Vice Provost of the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory at ASU, said, “We welcome the establishment of this new Center, and we are eager to work with the brightest minds from Arizona’s leading energy companies and our sister universities to explore the most effective ways to develop a sustainable and thriving carbon-neutral economy.”
Elizabeth “Betsy” Cantwell, UArizona senior vice president for research and innovation said, “We are thrilled to partner with our fellow state universities and local utilities to leverage the power of our place in a living laboratory and create scalable infrastructure for a clean, resilient Arizona.”
Jason Wilder, NAU VP for Research, said, “We’re thrilled to be able to help design a cleaner economy that will sustain Arizona into the future and to train the workforce that will be essential to bring these innovations into practice.”
APS Chairman, President and CEO Jeff Guldner, said, “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.”
Mike Hummel, CEO and General Manager of Salt River Project, said, “This challenge is bigger than any one company or industry. SRP appreciates the support and vision of this diverse set of partners willing to roll up their sleeves, work together and find solutions to become a low-net-carbon Arizona.”
Susan Gray, President and CEO of TEP and its parent company, UNS Energy, said, “The development of a regional clean hydrogen hub could provide critical support for our ongoing transition to a cleaner, cleaner grid.”
Dr. Laura Nelson, Vice president, Sustainability and Public Policy, said, “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.”
Senator Mark Kelly, said, “Arizona has tremendous potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by producing clean-burning hydrogen using solar energy. I look forward to working with the coalition to increase hydrogen production in our state.”
Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema, said, “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.”