Life is full of surprises. Like this one: Only 11.4% of Arizona’s total electricity came from solar, wind, and energy storage power plants in 2022, according to industry group American Clean Power. That put the state in 25th place in the nation. Living in the land of endless sunshine would make anyone here think the first figure should be bigger and the other should be higher.
Arizona Technology Council
Arizona is emerging as one of the nation’s top destinations for sustainable industries. Sectors including electric and zero-emission vehicle manufacturing, next-generation battery technology, solar and other clean energy production, biodegradable materials, freshwater science, agritech, and more have flourished in recent years. Last spring, Nikola Motors celebrated the production launch of its first fully electric semis from its 1-million-square-foot factory in Coolidge. The gleaming, white-and-black Tre BEV semi-trucks rolling off production lines are headed to customers across the United States, adding 645 horsepower to the slogan “Made in Arizona.”
When it comes to proponents of clean energy, the utilities and companies acting individually capture the most attention. But in Arizona, partnerships working behind the scenes are helping to shine a light on the benefits of this developing sector. Since 1991, the nonprofit Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association has been in operation. More commonly known as AriSEIA, the trade organization currently represents the solar, storage and electrification industry; solar-friendly businesses; and others interested in advancing solar and complementary technologies in Arizona. AriSEIA recently held it 2022 Arizona Energy Future: Innovation, Technology & Economic Opportunity Conference at Arizona State University.
While old habits may die hard, Arizona utilities are embracing new ones to deliver clean energy that can power the state now and into the future. came in early 2020 when Arizona Public Service (APS), the state’s largest energy company, announced it was setting a goal to deliver clean, carbon-free electricity to its customers by 2050. That is no small feat when you consider APS serves more than 1.3 million homes and businesses in 11 of the state’s 15 counties. The goal includes a 2030 target of achieving a resource mix that is 65% clean energy, with 45% of its generation portfolio coming from renewable energy.
Looking to the future, clean technologies are becoming more a necessity than a luxury. With headlines filled with news about climate change, greenhouse gases, carbon emissions and the depleting ozone layer, society demands better technology for a cleaner environment. Universities and other institutions of higher education have important roles as leaders in sustainability projects because it is critical to the education students receive, as well as to the future of our society. Also, universities have the ability to leverage great research strength in this industry for the future of Earth.
Our future depends on renewable energy, and the world needs engineers to build toward a better tomorrow. This realization drove Samirah Gnangbe to focus her career on engineering clean energy. Gnangbe came to study mechanical engineering at Northern Arizona University from the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, also known as Ivory Coast. When she learned about the relationship between fossil fuels and climate change, she began to see the ways her home is vulnerable.
Electrical grids have seen many technological advancements since they began providing power in the 1880s. With computer-controlled systems common among power grids
all over the world, systems can deliver power more efficiently than ever before. However, as power grids rely more heavily on computer-based systems, there also comes increased vulnerability to cyberattacks. A well-designed cyberattack can bring a city to its knees, shutting down the electricity that keeps modern cities bustling, such as when hackers shut down a part of Ukraine’s power grid that supplied more than 230,000 people in 2015.
The means for cleaner energy is a prominent driver in environmental technologies. The University of Advancing Technology (UAT) is a leader in a variety of technological fields and the movement towards understanding cleaner energy is a key focus of its Environmental Science program. UAT offers a series of three courses to help students better understand the current paradigm shift towards a more sustainable, environmentally friendly and technological world.
With less than 1 microliter of blood plasma or serum, researchers can now use a customizable lab platform called PepSeq to observe how the tiny sample interacts with hundreds of thousands of protein building blocks. The instructions for using PepSeq to analyze antibody responses, developed by scientists at the Translational Genomics
Research Institute (TGen), part of City of Hope, and Northern Arizona University (NAU), was described in Nature Protocols.
The January 2023 episode of the Arizona Technology Council’s AZTechCast podcast featured experts including Dara Gibson, AZ president of WiCyS Phoenix and senior manager at Optiv; Susan Morris, co-owner of ABL Cyber Academy and Cogent Cyber Range; and Andrew Roberts, chief cybersecurity strategist at cStor, A MicroAge Company. These leaders joined Steve Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council, and Bianca Buliga, the Council’s director of marketing and communications, in discussing how Arizona can more effectively close the gap and connect with skilled cybersecurity talent.