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AZ Republic: Plan to Strip Arizona Regulators of Power to Make Clean-Energy Rules Moves Closer to Governor's Desk

Posted by Ryan Randazzo on Mar 4, 2021

AZ Republic outlined Arizona lawmakers’ move to limit the Arizona Corporation Commission’s authority, quoting AEE’s Shelby Stults on the consequences for ratepayers and state business investment. Read excerpts below and the full story here (sub req).

Lawmakers moved Wednesday to strip the Arizona Corporation Commission of its power to make rules about clean energy in the state, following regulators' move to require electric companies to get all of their energy from carbon-free sources by 2050.

The House voted 31-28 on House Bill 2248 on Wednesday, with one member not voting. The bill prohibits the Corporation Commission from enacting any new energy rules after June 2020.

Last fall, after years of workshops and hearings on the issue, the Corporation Commission voted 4-1 to require electric companies like Arizona Public Service Co. and Tucson Electric Power Co., to get all of their energy from carbon-free sources by 2050, with intermediate targets before that date. Carbon emissions would need to be halved by 2032.

The clean-energy rules, which still need final approval from the commissioners — who are elected to their statewide offices — will force electric companies to rely more on solar, wind and nuclear energy, as well as energy-efficiency measures, and to retire all coal and eventually all natural-gas power plants…

The rules from the Corporation Commission include a host of other requirements, from energy efficiency requirements and battery storage policies for utilities.

The bills at the Legislature would block the new rules passed in November from taking effect, but would not alter previous requirements, which are in place today. Those rules from 2006 require utilities to get 15% of their power from renewables such as solar and wind by 2025, and rules passed in 2010 require them to use efficiency measures to meet 22% of their energy demand by this year…

“At a time when customers are most depending on reliable affordable power, lawmakers are creating uncertainty over electric power generation in Arizona,” said Shelby Stults, principal and Arizona state lead at Advanced Energy Economy, a national clean-energy group, in a prepared statement.

Stults added that there appears to be no way for the Legislature to take over energy planning if that ability is taken from the Corporation Commission.

"There’s no clear process over how the Legislature will take over expert regulatory oversight of Arizona’s electricity generation — this puts business investment in Arizona into a tailspin and jeopardizes electricity rates for all customers," she said.

Read excerpts below and the full story here (sub req).


Topics: AEE In The News