AzGT Partners with Anza Electric on Battery Storage Project

Barry Brown tells standing-room-only crowd at national meeting about the benefits of collaborating on project feasibility

For Immediate Release

April 2, 2020


Geoff Oldfather, (520) 586-5465, C: (520) 444-3473,

J.D. Wallace, (520) 586-5157, C: (520) 235-4203,

BENSON – When the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association was looking for an example of collaboration among electric cooperatives, it called on Barry Brown of Arizona G&T Cooperatives to explain AzGT’s partnership with Anza Electric Cooperative on a battery storage project.

“This is probably one of the most innovative partnerships I’ve seen between a distribution co-op and its G&T,” said Jan Ahlen, NRECA director of energy solutions.

Anza EC asked AzGT for help in assessing the feasibility and cost of Anza’s battery storage project, which could improve electric reliability to members of the Anza, California-based distribution cooperative.

Brown explained the project to a standing-room-only audience at the NRECA annual meeting in New Orleans on March 2. “AzGT showed we could provide help on the project’s financial and technical sides for less cost than other options,” said Brown, AzGT’s executive director of engineering and transmission maintenance.

Ahlen said we are likely to see explosive growth in demand over the next five years for the emerging technology, which comes with cost challenges. “Taking advantage of the G&T’s capacity and internal knowledge base is important in order to utilize the economies of scale that a G&T provides,” he said. “If you are in a community that has experienced a natural disaster, like Anza with a fire, it’s an excellent technology to improve resilience.”

On July 25, 2018, the devastating Cranston fire destroyed two miles of transmission line feeding Anza’s system, and the cooperative faced serious transmission reliability issues. The transmission line, owned by Southern California Edison, is the only transmission path to Anza’s system. While Anza immediately supported SCE with a fleet of five truck-mounted generators, it took SCE 10 days to restore power.

As Brown explained, the fire led to Anza’s desire to look at battery storage to enhance reliability. “We expect this technology to be there for AzGT Members in the future, so it’s advantageous for us to understand it,” Brown said.


About Arizona G&T Cooperatives

Arizona Electric Power Cooperative (AEPCO) and Sierra Southwest (Sierra) together comprise the Arizona G&T Cooperatives ( AEPCO owns and operates the 605-megawatt (combined gross) Apache Generating Station, located at Cochise, east of Benson. AEPCO also owns, operates and maintains 829 miles of electric power transmission line—including line owned in part with other utilities— and 27 substations to provide wholesale electric power from Apache to six member distribution cooperatives in southern Arizona, western New Mexico, northwestern Arizona and California.

Sierra is the vehicle to develop new ways to serve the renewable energy needs of our Member cooperatives and customers, and helps maximize solar and other renewable tax credits that are available. Sierra has initiated two utility scale solar projects; the 20 MW Apache Solar project on AEPCO property adjacent to and northeast of AGS, and SunAnza, the 2 MW solar array adjacent to the Anza EC headquarters in Anza, California.

Combined, the distribution cooperatives that receive AEPCO’s wholesale power serve more than 161,000 meters representing more than 420,000 individual residential, commercial, agricultural, and industrial member/consumers.

The Class A member cooperatives that receive wholesale power from AEPCO include Duncan Valley Electric Cooperative, Duncan; Graham County Electric Cooperative, Pima; Mohave Electric Cooperative, Bullhead City; Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative, Willcox; Trico Electric Cooperative, Marana; and our California member, Anza Electric Cooperative, Anza, California.

These member cooperatives own the AzGT and, by extension, the G&T Cooperatives are owned by their members—the people at the end of the line who use the power.