Five organizations serving Arizona communities impacted by the transition away from coal-fired power plants were selected this fall to receive a cumulative total of over $134,000 in economic development grants from the Utilities’ Grant Funding Program.

The program provides support to communities near impacted coal plants to develop new, sustainable economic strategies for their residents and other stakeholders. Funding is provided by Tucson Electric Power (TEP), Arizona Public Service (APS) and Salt River Project (SRP). This is the program’s second round of grant awards made in 2023.

In April, APS, SRP, and TEP created the Utilities’ Grant Program, which would support tribal, state, and local governments, as well as nonprofit groups and other stakeholders apply for grant funding from federal, state and other sources.  

Applications for up to $25,000 in assistance may be filed on behalf of impacted communities within 50 miles of a coal-fired plant owned by APS, SRP or TEP. For example, the money could be used to hire grant writers or commission economic impact studies that would help communities compete for state or federal opportunities.

In June, four coal community organizations were chosen to receive funding from the program: the City of Show Low, City of St. Johns, St. Johns Unified School District, and Grow Arizona each received $25,000.

Chosen communities

Northland Pioneer College (NPC) will receive a grant award of $25,000 to redesign its Energy and Industrial Technician (EIT) program. NPC will hire a consultant to conduct a feasibility study exploring alternative energy and other electro-mechanical offerings that will inform curriculum development and new program implementation. The college is responding to the industry growth of wind and solar power generation while offering electrical and instrumentation training and industrial maintenance skills used across multiple industries. This revised program is expected to begin in the Fall 2024 semester at the new NPC Skills Center on the White Mountain Campus in Show Low.

The City of Page will receive $25,000 to help cover the costs of hiring a grant-writing consulting firm to prepare applications for larger federal grants. The firm is also identifying additional grant opportunities to support transportation and economic development efforts, including broadband and community facilities and business incubators.

The Round Valley Unified School District will receive $25,000 to help hire a grant writer who will assist with funding opportunities.

The Town of Eager will receive $25,000 to support Round Valley Fire and Medical. Since the towns of Eagar and Springerville consolidated first responder resources in January, department leaders have been working diligently to improve all areas of service, said Britney Reynolds, Community Development Director.

Eager’s Public Works, Water and Sewer Department also will receive a $25,000 grant that will provide matching funds for a state water conservation program grant that will pay for meter system upgrades. These improvements will help save water, speed operations, and improve accuracy.

Joseph City Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports Joseph City Schools, will receive $9,140 to provide matching funds for a grant that will provide local businesses with training through the Joseph City Chamber of Commerce and job development opportunities for the area. Utilities’ Grant Program funding will also support technical assistance in securing additional grant opportunities.

TEP, APS and SRP pledged a combined $1 million in awards available through the Utilities’ Grant Funding Program.

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