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SRP Board Approves Coolidge Natural Gas Plant Expansion

Salt River Project’s board of directors has approved a plan that would more than double the size of a natural gas burning-plant in Coolidge.

But conservationists say the utility will struggle to meet its clean energy goals if the plant is built.

SRP has committed to significantly reduce its carbon footprint in a matter of decades.

But Adam Stafford of the nonprofit Western Resource Advocates says he thinks the utility is falling back into its comfort zone.

“I think one of the reasons they went with that is 'cause they’re familiar with the technology," Stafford said. "They know how it works, they can turn it on and off, I think they have two different gas pipelines that can feed the plant, it’s just for peace of mind I guess, for them.”

SRP cited concerns over population growth in Phoenix and the demand for more power. Grant Smedley is with SRP.

“These units at Coolidge Generating Station will be quick-start, fast-ramping natural gas units, and so they’ll be able to actually help us integrate more renewable energy into our system sooner," Smedley said. 

SRP hopes that nearly 50% of the power it generates will be carbon free by 2025.

Ron Dungan was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2020 to 2024.