Where Does Arizona Get Its Energy?

Arizona is one of the most topographically diverse states in the country. With mountain terrain to the north and east and the desert sweeping the southern and western portions of the state, it is an attractive place to live. People who decide to leave winter behind to the central and southern regions, while those who don’t mind things a little colder may opt for mountain vistas in the northern section.

Regardless of where the population settles, there is one thing that they need: Energy. Electricity is required in most areas to provide much-needed cooling in the desert summers and vital warmth up in the mountainous winters. With construction of the Chevelon Butte wind farm on the horizon, a project that promises to be a fix for Arizona’s energy shortage, where does the state get the energy it uses now? Take a look at some of the methods Arizona currently utilizes to bring electricity to the masses.

Fossil Fuels

As is the case in many regions of the country, the state’s power plants rely mostly on fossil fuels to create electricity. Arizona was once abundant in coal deposits, and while there are still some in existence, most are depleted. Plus, coal burns much dirtier than other sources. The transition away from it as a central component in power plants has occurred over the past decade. Now, many power plants utilize natural gas piped in from neighboring states like New Mexico.

Nuclear Reactors 

Another source of energy for power plants in the state is nuclear-based power plants. The Palo Verde nuclear generating station not only produces power for Arizona, but it also helps out adjacent states. It is the second-largest power plant in the country and the biggest power generator in the country. While its power can be spread out more among residents, it makes more money selling it to other states.

Hydroelectric Energy 

Harnassing the rivers of the state is the job of two large hydroelectric power plants. The Hoover dam and Glen Canyon dam each generate a considerable amount of energy and power. The Colorado River also provides much of the water for the state.

Solar Farms 

You would think that a state that gets as much sun as Arizona does would rely on solar energy to keep electricity flowing. However, a great deal of water is required to cool down the solar panels, especially after a day in the desert sun. Since Arizona doesn’t have an ocean of water to harness from, solar energy is not as widely used as a source of power.

Arizona will continue its quest to improve its current energy grid. Wind energy, like that being contemplated by the Chevelon Butte wind farm, might be the state’s ticket to meet future demand.