Arizona utility regulators deadlocked over whether they should increase the state’s requirements for renewable energy Thursday, abruptly ending a meeting when it was clear they disagreed.
On the table was a requirement to use 50% renewables by 2030 or 2035, 100% carbon free energy by 2050, energy-efficiency requirements and a wholesale change in how utilities decide which power plants to build.
Clean-energy advocates who have participated in the hearings at the Arizona Corporation Commission for the past two years, and longer, were let down by the inaction.
Many observers, including dozens of interest groups representing solar, energy efficiency, economic development, and other advocacy groups viewed Thursday as a historic opportunity to boost Arizona’s use of renewables.
“The Arizona Corporation Commission today missed a historic opportunity to put Arizona on a path towards a cleaner, healthier and more prosperous future by failing to strengthen the state’s antiquated energy rules,” said Amanda Ormond, director of Western Grid Group, a clean energy advocacy organization.
“Rules were under consideration for two years, with 10 public meetings, thousands of comments filed, and hundreds of hours of engagement by stakeholders.”
Particularly troubling to many of those groups was inaction on Arizona’s energy-efficiency requirements. Efficiency is widely regarded as the cheapest way to meet electricity demand because it is usually less costly to help customers save power with things like programmable thermostats than it is to build power plants to supply that power.
The Arizona Republic’s Ryan Randazzo explains what the Arizona Corporation Commission does and how these five elected officials can have a big impact on your electric bill.
Arizona has an efficiency requirement of 22% of utility demand be met with such measures this year, with no additional requirements going forward.
The state’s renewable-energy requirement of 15% of electricity coming by renewables by 2025 also is below other states including California, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington.
“Arizonans across the state support a just and equitable transition to renewable energy and energy efficiency,” said Sandy Bahr, director at the Sierra Club’s Arizona chapter.
“Not a single commissioner should ignore this reality. Arizona’s renewable standard is falling behind other Western states whose leaders are pushing utilities to embrace modern, clean energy and all the benefits that come with it while our energy efficiency standard expires at the end of the year.”
Work began 4 years ago
Four years ago, the commission began looking at increasing the renewable-energy standard and two years ago it took on a new focus when commissioners signaled they might actually vote on a measure.
After multiple drafts of a proposed increase were put forth by the…
Go to the news source: Arizona clean energy standard will stay the same for now as vote stalls