Chamber Business News

Palo Verde Generating Station helps with economic development in Arizona

Palo Verde Generating Station has been the largest power producer in the nation for more than 25 years. The power plant, which is known for its generation of nuclear power, also helps fuel Arizona’s economy.

According to Bill Honsaker, Managing Director and Designated Broker, JLL, energy is one of the main factors in a business’ decision to set up shop in a state.

From the industrial standpoint, after labor and transportation, there’s obviously a supply chain component in there, a really key component is power,” Honsaker said. “Power and water and the utility infrastructure that can be offered.”

APS reports that Palo Verde helps the state by: generating more than 32 million megawatt-hours annually, enough power for more than 4 million people; providing an annual economic impact of more than $2 billion through salaries, taxes, material and service purchases, and more; and purchase of $130 million in products and services from more 1,200 Arizona businesses every year.

The power company warns that if Proposition 127, also known as the renewable energy mandate, passes, the nuclear plant could shut down, which could have serious negative side effects on the state.

“[California is] getting ready to shut down Diablo Canyon in 2024/2025. That’s their last nuclear power plant [and] they’re doing it because they implemented a 50 percent renewable standard,” Bob Bement, Chief Nuclear Office, Palo Verde, said. “So, when you hear people say, the renewable standard that we are going to implement won’t affect Palo Verde, history says that’s not quite true.

According to Bement, after California shut down the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, their CO2 emissions went up by eight million tons per year.

Bement says the state does not need a clean energy mandate because most of our energy is already clean, just not renewable.  

“For us as a state, we get wind at about six percent, hydro is a little over ten percent. We produce 56 percent of our country’s carbon free electricity,” he said. “So, we’re going to clean up the atmosphere and doing it without nuclear plants? The math is very difficult, actually, I would say impossible.”

One of Prop. 127’s biggest arguments is the need for cleaner air in Phoenix, Bement believes replacing nuclear with solar will not clean up the air.

According to him, “less than one percent of [pollution] comes from power plants. It’s coming from the vehicles that are on the road and dust. So, you can take every power plant you want and shut it down, but you are not going to affect what’s above the sky in Phoenix.”

For more information about the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station and its impact on Arizona click here.

Emily Richardson

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