The Arizona Corporation Commission is considering several renewable clean energy standards that will be voted on this Fall and wants to HEAR WHAT YOU THINK.
Robert “Bob” Burns, the Chairperson of the Commission, in a June 7, 2019 letter (link at the end of the article,) has given the public until the end of business on Friday, July 12, 2019, to advance their views on what renewable clean energy course the Commission should approve.
Currently, there are three main proposals before the Commission. Two of them have two proposed addendums.
The first proposal is to put a moratorium on the generation of fossil fuels starting on January 1, 2021. Furthermore, this “moratorium would include purchased power agreements (“PPA”) that used non-clean energy resources. This would require any new generation assets, whether actual generators or PPAs to be clean. Any existing generation that is retired and/or needs to be replaced, would be required to be replaced with clean energy resources.” According to Engineer, Scientist, and Arizona Interfaith Power and Light (AZIPL) Board Member Jim Moule, this means that utility companies would be forced “to use renewable energy by default for any new energy generation.”
While sound, this proposal does not make clear what are the clean energy resources. Some on the commission would like nuclear to be considered a renewable clean energy resource along with options like solar and wind.
The problem with that, according to Karen Schedler of Natural Teacher LLC, is nuclear power “(though not carbon-emitting once the nuclear reactor is up and functional) is THE most expensive source of energy when considering not only the cost of building a reactor but also when factoring in the cost of having to safely store radioactive waste into infinity.”
The other issue regarding nuclear energy is the danger of contaminating waterways like the Colorado River, by mining uranium, for example, in the Grand Canyon, as pointed out by 2018 Mining Inspector Candidate Bill Pierce.
While attending the Corporation Commission meeting where defining what constitutes clean energy was discussed, Mr. Moule noted that Commissioner Sandra Kennedy was adamant that nuclear energy should not be included with the other renewable clean energy options.
The Second Proposal calls for Arizona to have a standard of utilizing 85 percent clean energy by 2050. There are addendums to this proposal that institute incremental markers with one calling for 50 percent renewable clean energy usage by 2028 with another mandating 40 percent by 2035.
The third proposal, made by former Commissioner Andy Tobin, would have Arizona at 80 percent renewable clean energy output, with proposed carve-outs (in areas like biomass renewable energy sources) that have been spelled out in the Energy Modernization Plan by 2050. This proposal also includes the same addendums as the second suggestion.
These second and third proposals taken together, according to Mr. Moule, would:
- “Cause them to reduce the use of fossil fuel causing green gases.”
- Reduce costs. Mr. Moule stated that “one aspect on the cost that is seldom identified is that; once a solar or wind generation facility is constructed since there is no fuel to buy and there are practically no maintenance and operation costs, the cost per kilowatt hour is essentially locked-in for the next 20+ years. This fixed cost scenario gives renewable energy a significant advantage over fossil fuels that have in the past and will in the future continue to increase in cost.”
Climate Change is a serious phenomenon that needs to be addressed. The Corporation Commission deserves praise for considering options to address it.
Mayors and City Councils across Arizona should also be recognized for shifting to clean renewable energy.
According to the Sierra Club, Tempe and Flagstaff in Arizona have pledged to make their cities 100 percent clean energy efficient. Phoenix is also striving, through their Environmental and Sustainability Goals, to be “a carbon neutral city.”
More Arizona cities and towns will probably follow.
The Corporation Commission wants to hear the public views on their Clean Renewable Energy Proposals in the Fall.
Please access the link provided to access Chairperson Burn’s letter, which includes instructions on how to submit your feedback to the Commission.
PLEASE FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS OUTLINED IN THE LETTER.
This is an opportunity to practice Active Citizenship and help shape your city and state’s future. It is a chance to make life better for this generation, the next, and the one not yet born.
Please let the Commission know what you think by 5:00 p.m. on July 12, 2019.