Hydroelectric power a boon for Marana

MARANA, ARIZONA - Marana officials expect to save as much as $5 million in utility costs over the next 20 years after the Town Council approved a contract to use an allocation of hydroelectric power.

The one megawatt of power, which Marana will get annually for 20 years beginning October 1, comes from the Parker-Davis Project. That project generates hydroelectric power with a dam on the Colorado River near Lake Havasu City.

"We're very fortunate that we happen to be in a good spot," Marana Utility Director Brad DeSpain said of Marana's proximity to power lines running from the Parker-Davis Dam to a power plant in Cochise County run by the Arizona Electric Power Cooperative.

One of the cooperative's members is Trico Electric Cooperative Inc., which is based in Marana and is one of the two suppliers of electricity to the town and its residents. The other is Tucson Electric Power.

Hydroelectric power is a cheaper form of electricity because it does not require fuel to be burned. Using hydroelectric will save Marana between $7,000 and $22,000 a month depending on the time of year, said Karen Cathers, manager of contracts and regulatory affairs for Trico.

DeSpain said the hydroelectric allocation will be used to power the town's municipal facilities, lighting for its ball fields, streetlights and also its water department. DeSpain said it will also eventually be used to help power the town's wastewater department once Marana has officially taken over that operation from Pima County.

"Once we get wastewater there will be no problem for us to use that megawatt," DeSpain said.


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