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Where Do We Get Most Of Our Energy From In Arizona

Arizona is one of several states with natural gas reserves situated within their boundaries. Natural gas accounts for nearly 40 percent of all power generation in the state, making it a key source of energy supply. In addition to this primary resource, coal-fired plants contribute around 25 percent while nuclear reactors generate almost 6 percent. Renewable sources such as hydroelectricity account for roughly 3 percent and solar makes up 1 percent.

The use of various forms of energy in Arizona can have both positive and negative effects on the local community as well as global climate change mitigation efforts. On one hand, access to reliable electricity helps support economic growth by providing businesses with an essential input needed to run operations efficiently. However, burning fossil fuels contributes significantly to air pollution which may lead to health issues among nearby populations living near power plants or other heavy industrial sites. Furthermore, increased emissions from these activities contribute to global warming through greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere

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Sources Of Energy In Arizona

In Arizona, energy is supplied mainly by electricity and natural gas. Electricity primarily comes from a combination of coal and nuclear sources, with some renewable sources such as wind and solar. Natural gas in the state is largely sourced from multiple underground storage sites located within its borders, although it does receive imported supplies from other states. In addition to these two main sources, Arizona has recently seen an increase in oil production which helps diversify its energy portfolio.

The majority of the electricity generated in Arizona is produced through traditional means such as coal and nuclear power plants, accounting for approximately 60 percent of total energy usage. Renewable resources represent a growing sector in the state’s energy mix, contributing 13 percent to overall generation capacity. Wind and solar are the primary contributors here, with biomass coming in third place. Additionally, water-based hydroelectricity contributes about 4 percent to total electrical output.

Renewable Energy Resources

In Arizona, renewable energy sources are becoming increasingly important to providing reliable and sustainable power. These include solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, wind turbines, geothermal systems, biomass facilities, small hydropower plants, hydrogen-based fuel cells and other emerging technologies. Solar PV is the most widely used of these resources in Arizona and supplies a significant portion of the state’s electricity needs. Wind power has also been increasing steadily over time and now accounts for more than ten percent of total energy generation in Arizona. 

Geothermal power is an efficient source of low-emission heat that can be used in industrial processes or to generate electricity directly from hot springs or underground reservoirs. Biomass fuels such as wood chips and agricultural residues can provide a clean source of renewable energy when co-fired with fossil fuels at existing power plants. Small hydroelectric projects offer another option for producing clean energy without damaging the environment by disrupting natural water flow patterns or affecting wildlife habitats. Finally, advances in technology have enabled the development of new types of renewable energy sources such as hydrogen-based fuel cells that could become economically viable options for powering homes and businesses across Arizona in the future.

Solar Energy

Solar energy is a renewable source of energy that can be used to power many different types of activities. In Arizona, solar energy is one of the most utilized sources of energy. According to the U.S Energy Information Administration (EIA), in 2018, nearly 18 percent of electricity generated in Arizona came from utility-scale solar photovoltaic systems and concentrating solar plants. This was enough to meet around 10% of total electricity demand in Arizona during that year. The use of utility-scale solar facilities has increased rapidly since 2008 when it only accounted for 0.2% of all electricity generated in the state.

The EIA also reports that distributed solar photovoltaic capacity installed on residential and commercial buildings grew substantially between 2014 and 2018 providing an additional 762 megawatts (MW) over those four years alone. As such, these two sources combined account for almost 30 percent of all the power used by Arizonans annually.

Wind Power

Wind power is a major source of energy in Arizona. The state has one of the most extensive wind turbine networks in the United States, with around 4,500 turbines providing clean renewable electricity to over 1 million people. Wind turbines are typically located in areas where there are consistent prevailing winds, making them an ideal choice for states like Arizona that experience plenty of sunshine and strong gusts of wind. In addition to being cost-effective and reliable, wind power also reduces air pollution by replacing fossil fuels with renewable sources.

In 2019, Arizona was ranked sixth among all US states for installed capacity from wind-powered electric generating units—and first among western states—with nearly 2 gigawatts (GW) total capacity. This makes up nearly 10% of the state’s total electricity generation capacity. Furthermore, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Arizona is projected to add more than 500 megawatts (MW) annually through 2025 as new projects come online throughout the state. With its commitment to increasing investment in clean energy solutions such as wind power, Arizona is actively transitioning away from traditional forms of energy production and toward cleaner alternatives.


Hydroelectricity is a major source of energy in Arizona. It involves the use of flowing water to generate electricity by spinning turbines connected to generators and electric motors. The majority of hydroelectricity in Arizona comes from two main sources: Hoover Dam and Glen Canyon Dam, both located on the Colorado River. Both dams have been providing clean, renewable energy for decades with minimal environmental impact.

In addition to these large-scale dams, there are many smaller hydropower plants throughout Arizona that provide power to local communities. These small-scale systems typically involve diverting water through pipes or canals before it enters a turbine generator which produces electricity. Many of these projects not only reduce dependence on fossil fuels but also improve water management practices in their respective areas by controlling the flow of rivers and streams during peak demand periods.

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Workers installing alternative energy photovoltaic solar panels on roof

Geothermal Energy

In Arizona, geothermal energy is a major source of electricity generation. Geothermal energy comes from the Earth’s internal heat and is tapped by drilling wells into underground reservoirs of hot water or steam. These sources produce electricity through turbines that are connected to generators which convert mechanical power into electrical power. The advantage of using geothermal energy for generating electricity in Arizona lies in its emissions-free nature as well as its abundance throughout the state.

Using geothermal energy can also help reduce costs associated with energy production due to its availability and accessibility when compared to other forms of renewable energies such as solar and wind. Moreover, it requires minimal maintenance since there are no fuel costs associated with running these plants; they run 24 hours a day with little downtime needed for repairs or replacements. Additionally, geothermal projects have long life cycles that make them more cost efficient than most traditional forms of energy production over time.

Nuclear Power

Despite being a relatively clean form of energy production, nuclear power is not commonly used in Arizona. The state has no commercial nuclear power plants and relies mainly on other sources such as renewable energies, natural gas, and coal for its electricity generation needs. However, there are some small-scale research and educational reactors located at the University of Arizona campus that generate low levels of radioactivity which fuel various experiments.

The main advantages to using nuclear energy as an alternative source of energy include: it does not emit air pollutants or greenhouse gases; it has high capacity factors (the ratio between actual output over time relative to potential output); and it produces large amounts of electrical energy from a very small amount of material. While these benefits make nuclear energy attractive, safety concerns have been raised due to the risks associated with radiation exposure and waste disposal. Additionally, the cost for building new plants can be substantial compared to other forms of energy production. Despite this, if properly managed, there is potential for nuclear power to become an important part of Arizona’s future energy mix.