Tucson Electric Power is proposing to modernize the Sundt Generating Station at 4120 E Irvington Rd. in Tucson by replacing two 1950’s era steam units with 10 natural gas-fired combustion engines. The purpose of the new engines is to ramp up more quickly and to balance the variability associated with solar and wind energy generation. But all that ramping spouts more pollution into the air than the current steam units.
TEP claims that these units are part of a larger goal for 30% renewable energy by 2030, but gas-fired engines should not be equated with clean, renewable power from wind and solar. The Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engine (“RICE”) units are fossil-fuel based generating units that would create significant greenhouse gas emissions.
According to the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality, the project expects to cause an increase in emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter (fine particles PM2.5 and coarse particles PM10) and volatile organic compounds.