CAP is the largest source of renewable water in Arizona. It’s also the biggest electricity user in the state.
It takes more than 2.8 billion kilowatt hours of energy per year to deliver more than 500 billion gallons of Colorado River water to 80 percent of the state’s population.
Why so much power? Between Lake Havasu and the end of the system south of Tucson, water is pumped 336 miles essentially uphill.
In February 2017, the utility owners of the Navajo Generating Station announced they would not operate the plant after 2019. NGS has historically provided most of the power to pump CAP water, so that left a big question mark as to where CAP would get its power in the future.
A Power Task Force met February through June 2017. During those meetings, CAP’s energy needs, potential options for supplying those needs, power market conditions, acquisition alternatives and risk tolerance were discussed. Subsequently, in November 2017, CAP issued a Request for Proposal for the Purchase of Electrical Capacity and Energy to supply CAP pumping loads beginning in January 2020. Based on the responses, CAP developed five portfolios for board consideration to address CAP’s base load power needs. More information can be found regarding those proposals here.
At its April 5 meeting, the CAWCD board directed CAP staff to negotiate a contract for the solar power component that was common to most of the portfolios. Action on other portfolio components was delayed until the May Board meeting. In addition, the April 12 Stakeholder Rate Workshop was extended to include discussion of the power portfolios and their potential impact on CAP pumping energy rates.
Based on feedback received during this workshop as well as discussions taking place over the next month, CAP will be looking for further direction at the May 3 CAP Board meeting. CAP expects to execute contracts for a portion of its post-2019 pumping energy in June.