Clean Energy Commitment | APS Low-Carbon Economy Principles | Palo Verde Generating Station | Solar Research & Development | Energy Storage | Coal Reduction | Carbon & Air Emissions | Sustainable Fleet | Sustainable Facilities

Updated: April 2020

Our Commitment: 100 Percent Clean Energy by 2050

We've set a bold, three-part goal to provide a clean energy future for our customers:

  • An aspirational goal to provide 100 percent clean, carbon-free electricity by 2050
  • A nearer-term 2030 target of achieving a resource mix that is 65 percent clean energy, with 45 percent of our portfolio coming from renewable energy
  • A commitment to end all coal-fired generation by 2031, seven years sooner than previously projected
Carbon Goal

Our clean energy plan will be guided by sound science and focused on achieving environmental and economic gains—all while maintaining affordable, reliable service for our customers.

Collaboration with customers, regulators and other stakeholders is key to our plan’s ultimate success. We look forward to working alongside those who believe in this vision to move forward together to keep Arizona clean, beautiful and thriving.

“We see incredible things ahead for Arizona and are excited to power our state’s future with electricity that will be 100% clean.” — Jeff Guldner, Chairman and CEO, Arizona Public Service

View a one-page summary of our clean energy commitment.
Read the related news release.



Pathways to 100 Percent Clean

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Policy decisions

Support policy decisions that leverage market-based technology and innovation to attract investment in Arizona

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Existing power sources

Near-term use of natural gas until technological advances are available to maintain reliable service at reasonable prices

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Evolving market-based solutions

Participation in the Energy Imbalance Market provides access to clean energy resources while saving customers money

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Electrification

Electrification will drive a cleaner environment and more energy-efficient operations throughout the economy

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Modernization of the electric grid

Continue to advance infrastructure that is responsive and resilient while providing customers more choice and control

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Energy storage solutions

Storage creates opportunity to take advantage of midday solar generation and better respond to peak demand


APS Low-Carbon Economy Principles

APS’s transition to clean energy will contribute to a future low-carbon economy that will create new growth opportunities while providing environmental benefits. APS developed a set of principles to guide our path toward a low-carbon economy.

Read the APS Low-Carbon Principles.


Palo Verde Generating Station

For the 28th consecutive year, Palo Verde was the nation’s largest energy producer, generating 31.9 million megawatt-hours (MWh) of carbon-free electricity in 2019. Palo Verde is the only generating facility in the United States to produce more than 30 million MWh in a year, a milestone the plant has achieved 11 consecutive years and a total of 15 times. APS operates the Palo Verde Generating Station and owns or leases 29.1% of the facility.

Nuclear energy works in concert with renewable generation. Without nuclear energy, carbon emissions would increase because of greater reliance on natural gas to fill the inevitable energy void. Because Palo Verde is producing energy at all hours – day and night – it supports the basic needs of customers when solar and wind are not available because of their intermittent nature. It can facilitate increased adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) and improve the environment by supplying zero-emission energy to charge EVs and large-scale batteries instead of relying on natural gas or coal-fired power plants to do the job.

Nearly half of Palo Verde’s output is dedicated to serving Arizona consumers. Electricity generated by the plant annually displaces more than 13.3 million metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that otherwise would have been produced, providing clean energy that powers about four million homes and businesses throughout the Southwest.

Additionally, as the nation’s only nuclear plant not located on a body of water, Palo Verde recycles more than 20 billion gallons of wastewater annually from surrounding municipalities to cool the plant. Learn more in our section on Water.

Read more about Palo Verde Generating Station on aps.com and in this article from AZ Big Media: Palo Verde – Inside the Nation’s Largest Nuclear Power Plant.”

Solar Research & Development

We are a national leader in solar energy, with more than 1.5 gigawatts of solar capacity producing energy for our customers in Arizona. Our customers can count on us for innovative solutions that will advance Arizona’s solar leadership, including ground-breaking research to evaluate how energy companies can bring the benefits of this clean, renewable resource and advanced technology to customers reliably and affordably. Solar is an important part of our increasingly clean, diverse energy mix that will continue to grow in the future. We are setting the course for a sustainable energy future that brings together clean energy resources including solar, advanced technology, customer choice and reliability for all customers.

  • State Ranking. Arizona ranks number 3 nationally for solar capacity
  • Solar Capacity. Our 1.5 gigawatts of solar capacity ranks number 5 among all U.S. investor-owned energy companies
  • Solar Portfolio. Our portfolio includes 10 APS-owned large-scale plants, more than 30 APS-owned small-scale plants, APS-owned rooftop solar systems and 6 power purchase agreements to buy solar power from third-party providers, totaling 550 MW. We have helped more than 103,000 customers install private rooftop solar on their homes, and we have assisted more than 300 schools and 32 government agencies install solar projects at their facilities across Arizona. Learn more about our Renewable Energy Portfolio.

We are pursuing numerous opportunities to advance Arizona’s solar leadership for the benefit of customers here and across the nation. Our engineers are developing and deploying innovative projects to understand solar’s potential for customers, including evaluating how solar interacts with energy storage and other advanced technologies.

Research from the award-winning APS Solar Partner program, Solar Innovation Study and Solar Communities program, among others, is being shared across the utility industry and with academic researchers, consumer advocacy groups and Arizona-based solar installers. The results are informing our company and the industry about how to bring the benefits of solar energy and advanced technology to customers reliably and affordably.

Energy Storage

We deploy a number of advanced technologies on our system, including energy storage. Storage can provide capacity, improve power quality, be used for system regulation and help defer certain traditional infrastructure investments. Energy storage can also aid in integrating higher levels of renewables by storing excess energy when system demand is low and renewable production is high, and then releasing the stored energy during peak demand hours later in the day and after sunset. We are utilizing grid-scale energy storage projects to benefit customers, to increase renewable utilization and to further our understanding of how storage works with other advanced technologies and the grid.

We currently plan to install at least 850 MW of energy storage by 2025, including 150 MW of energy storage projects under power purchase agreements. The additional 700 MW of APS-owned energy storage is expected to be made up of energy storage that will be added to our existing AZ Sun solar sites, along with current and future RFPs for energy storage and solar plus energy storage projects.

In April 2019, a battery module in our McMicken battery energy storage facility experienced an equipment failure, which prompted an internal investigation to determine the cause. The results of the investigation will inform the implementation of batteries on our system. We continue to evaluate the appropriate timing and path forward to support the overall capacity goals for our system and associated energy storage requirements.

Coal Reduction

We have permanently retired over 1,000 megawatts of coal-fired electric generating capacity. These closures, in addition to other measures taken by APS, have resulted in a total reduction of carbon emissions of 26% since 2005, which is equivalent of removing over 940,000 passenger vehicles from the road. In addition, we have committed to end the use of coal at our remaining Cholla units by 2025 and made an overall commitment to exit coal by 2031, which means we will close the Four Corners Power Plant seven years earlier than our original plan.

With all plant closures, we work closely with impacted employees and local communities to ease the transition and support long–term economic planning for a future beyond coal.

Carbon & Air Emissions

In 2019, total APS carbon dioxide emissions were 13,455,060 tons. This represents a decrease of 26% over total carbon dioxide emissions since 2005. In addition to carbon reductions, we are on the pathway to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) intensity by 93% and 89%, respectively. Since 2005, we have had an intensity reduction of 77% for NOx and 86% for SO2. This resulted from our commitments to reduce emissions and institute operational efficiency enhancements.

We reduce our environmental impact by closing older, less-efficient coal units and upgrading environmental controls on newer units. Selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology currently is employed at six of our power plants. As noted above, installation of two new SCRs at the Four Corners Power Plant in 2018 resulted in an 88% NOx reduction at that facility.

Learn more about our air emissions trends.

CDP Recognition. We believe it is important to disclose our carbon management strategies and GHG emissions to customers, investors and other stakeholders. We voluntarily report annually to the CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), a global nonprofit organization that collects and analyzes environmental data for investors to use in financial decisions. This organization’s network of investors represents more than $100 trillion in assets. CDP reporting provides a benchmark to evaluate how well we manage our carbon emissions and climate change risk, and identify opportunities for improvement.

We have been commended for our climate action this year, achieving a place on global environmental impact nonprofit CDP's prestigious ‘A List’ for climate change, based on our climate disclosure in 2019. We are proud to be among 35 American companies to make the A-list, only that 2% of companies disclosing to CDP made the list this year. We were recognized for our actions to cut emissions, mitigate climate risks and work we are doing to contribute to a low-carbon economy. . Our Scope 1, 2 and some of scope 3 GHG emissions reported to CDP are third-party verified.

In addition, we submit a comprehensive annual report of our GHG emissions to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as required by federal law.

Learn more about our CDP responses and documents.

To measure our overall carbon reduction—not just decreasing emissions from generation but also throughout our company operations—we use a carbon-avoidance metric. This reflects actions taken company-wide, including retiring coal units, installing renewable generation and energy efficiency, increasing our building and operating efficiencies, and pursuing fleet electrification.

In 2019, we avoided 5.1 million metric tons of carbon. Since 2015, we have avoided 23.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions that otherwise would have been emitted had we not taken actions to reduce the emissions. That is equivalent to removing over five million automobiles from the road.

Sustainable Fleet

Our transportation fleet continues its conversion to more fuel-efficient vehicles and electrification, by continually researching the market and updating the electrification strategy for our fleet. Through this ongoing conversion and by using our fleet more efficiently, we are working to reduce both carbon emissions and operating costs. We currently have a fleet of 26 sedans, of which 54% are plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. In addition, we are in the process of replacing all forklifts weighing 8,000 pounds or less with electric units and are proactively working towards getting the necessary charging infrastructure in place to be able to replace other vehicle classes with electric as manufacturer offerings expand.

Idle-mitigation technology is part of a standard package on all trouble trucks, allowing workers to run laptops and air conditioning without keeping the vehicle running. In addition to reducing our carbon footprint, this decreases noise when working in residential neighborhoods. Our Odyne bucket trucks use less fuel and have quieter operations than traditional diesel or gasoline engine trucks by using battery-assisted drivetrain and electric power takeoff (ePTO) technology while operating the bucket. We are currently evaluating the new idle-mitigation technology for adoption in our larger trucks.

Sustainable Facilities

Our commitment to reduce our environmental footprint through sustainable practices is evident throughout APS facilities. Our corporate headquarters in Phoenix has earned seven ENERGY STAR labels for energy efficiency from the EPA. Over the past 11 years, we have improved energy efficiency at this facility by approximately 25%. Overall, our facilities have received 12 ENERGY STAR labels. Sustainability strategies are embedded within our standard architectural and engineering specifications when managing changes to our buildings or constructing new space. We work to improve energy efficiency throughout our facilities by replacing obsolete building systems and equipment with more energy-efficient systems and equipment.

While eco-friendly buildings are core to our sustainability efforts, we are also looking toward the future with a vision for how we will work tomorrow. The Workplace of the Future initiative was launched in 2019 to create a flexible strategy that will transform our workspace to support the evolving needs of our business and employees. Grounded in research and employee feedback, three guiding principles form the foundation of our vision for the Workplace of the Future.

The first project from this initiative is the APS Work Café, located in our corporate headquarters, which was opened in early 2020. It provides a combination of working, meeting and dining areas that bring people together in a modern, engaging, employee-centric atmosphere. The design incorporates many sustainable elements including the use of natural lighting, LED lighting fixtures and sustainably sourced furniture. The next project is a renovation of an entire floor that houses part of the IT organization. Construction will be completed by the end of 2020. We will monitor and measure the effectiveness of the implemented strategies and incorporate what we learn in future projects.

Going forward, along with our Workplace of the Future effort, proactive assessments of the health and use of our buildings, utilization of the most current technologies as we renovate, reusing materials where possible and further replacing ozone-depleting technologies will guide our decision-making. We will continue to design, construct, operate and maintain our new and remodeled facilities to ENERGY STAR standards and LEED principles.

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