The utility’s 2014 resource plan suggests that it hasn’t grasped (or refuses to seize) the opportunity. Although they forecast growth in renewable energy by 600 megawatts (MW) in the next 15 years, it’s only half the capacity increase they intend for natural gas (1200 MW).
Why short-change solar? It’s pretty easy when you dramatically exaggerate its cost.
In TEP’s integrated resource plan for 2014, they estimate the cost of new natural gas generation between $88 and $119 per megawatt-hour (or 8.8 to 11.9 cents per kilowatt-hour, the unit of measure for residential consumption). For solar generation, they suggest, the cost is over 16 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh).
But for a sunshine resource, TEP’s calculation is a bit shady.