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SRP commits to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050

Salt River Project’s Board of Directors this week approved a more ambitious set of sustainability goals. The utility now says it is aiming for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Five years ago, SRP had committed to reducing carbon emissions 65% from 2005 levels by 2035. Under its  revised sustainability plan, it ups that target to 82% reductions by 2035, and adds the net-zero goal beyond that.

"Since 2019, we've continued to see advancements in energy technology, both from lower costs on the solar side as well as more commercial scale readiness in batteries," Bobby Olsen, SRP associate general manager and chief planning, strategy and sustainability executive, told KJZZ News. "We identified that we really have an opportunity to do more." 

Olsen said SRP has already reduced emissions more than 30% from 2005 levels, but said the utility will need massive investments in solar power infrastructure to achieve its new goals. 

"That's a phenomenal shift," Olsen said. "While we’ve got contracts and are currently developing and adding 2,200 megawatts of utility scale solar, our plans are going to require us to add another 6,000 to 7,000 megawatts of utility scale solar.” 

SRP projects that for customers, the new sustainability targets will mean incremental cost increases only about four percentage points higher than cost increases would have been under previous plans.

In addition to its new emissions goals, SRP has also committed to further reducing its water use, and helping customers decrease energy use through efficiency savings.

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Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent reporting on a variety of issues, including public health and climate change.