Groups unite in urging ACC to adopt strong clean energy plan for Arizonans

By Ben Delman on August 1, 2019

More than two dozen groups representing consumer, faith, business, environmental, public health, and tribal community interests today submitted a joint proposal for a strong clean energy plan to utility regulators at the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC). The commission will hold an energy rules stakeholder meeting in Phoenix on Wednesday, July 31.

The groups are urging the ACC to increase the amount of renewable energy powering the state to 50 percent by 2030 and expand consumer options such as energy efficiency and solar measures. The proposal further calls for the state to achieve 100 percent clean, zero-emission energy by 2045 and 35 percent energy efficiency by 2030. Advocates say that their plan to meet more of Arizona’s power needs with competitive, clean energy will mean lower utility bills, more local jobs in a growing new energy economy, and healthier air quality.

The joint clean energy comments were submitted as part of the omnibus rulemaking currently underway at the ACC to address a range of electric industry issues. Specifically, the joint comments call for:

  • Setting binding standards that require utilities to provide 50 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2030 and 100 percent from clean, zero-emission sources by 2045;
  • Ensuring that by 2030, 10 percent of electricity comes from local distributed resources, including rooftop solar, community solar, and other customer-driven energy options, with a simpler compliance metric to track progress;
  • Ensuring cumulative energy efficiency savings of at least 35 percent by 2030; and
  • Establishing a more comprehensive and transparent energy planning process, to provide more effective opportunities for public and stakeholder engagement and greater accountability when the ACC reviews utilities’ integrated resource plans.

“We are asking the Arizona Corporation Commission to forge a clean energy future for the health and welfare of ourselves and our children,” said Adam Stafford, Western Resource Advocates’ staff attorney in Phoenix. “Having our utilities generate all of their electricity from emission-free sources by 2045, as we have requested, is achievable and beneficial, and several other Western states have recently done the same. That requirement would help Arizona improve public health and boost the economy by reducing electricity costs, creating good-paying clean energy jobs, and improving air quality. A recent study estimates that as a result of climate change and the widening urban heat island, temperatures in Phoenix are on track to feel like the Iraqi desert by 2050. Importantly, this new rule would help us address climate change and avoid rising temperatures and its other severe consequences, including prolonged droughts and destructive wildfires.”

“As people of faith, we have a moral responsibility to urge our policymakers and state leaders to embrace clean energy, energy efficiency and conservation for a healthier future for all Arizonans,” said Reverend Doug Bland, Executive Director of Arizona Interfaith Power and Light. “Climate change is a human problem, and the time is overdue to put our faith into action to ensure a healthier and more prosperous Arizona for future generations.”

“Sunny Arizona has some of the strongest solar resource of anywhere in the country, and we believe that every family, business, and community in this state should be able to go solar if they so choose,” said Art Terrazas, Interior West Director with Vote Solar. “We are urging the ACC to support competitive clean energy options, business innovation, and consumer savings with a strong plan for Arizona to harness more of that plentiful sunshine for power.”

“The Navajo Nation is blessed with world-class wind and solar resources. Renewable energy will play a central role in helping build a new, sustainable Tribal economy that is in line with Diné fundamental laws and that provides benefits to local communities like coal never did. These Clean Energy rules will help facilitate this transition, giving the people of the Navajo Nation – and all residents of Arizona – an opportunity to reap the environmental and economic benefits of true energy independence,” said Carol Davis, Director of Diné CARE.

“The Arizona Corporation Commission should focus on what works—cutting electricity waste by extending the Energy Efficiency Standard,” said Ellen Zuckerman, Arizona Representative for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project. “Efficiency is less expensive than our other options. It creates local jobs, grows our local economy, keeps our air clean, and saves ratepayers money.”

“Our state’s current solar energy goals are a missed opportunity for all Arizonans in a state that gets on average 300 sunny days a year,” said Bret Fanshaw, Arizona Program Director of Solar United Neighbors. “We’re calling on the ACC today to significantly raise the Renewable Energy Standard and ensure that every homeowner in Arizona who wants to claim energy independence can do so by going solar.”