Arizona Corporation Commission strikes down 100% clean energy proposal

The Arizona Corporation Commission voted on Jan. 26 against approving proposed energy regulations that would have required the state’s electric utilities to reduce their carbon emissions to combat climate change and pave the way for 100% clean energy for the state. The 3-to-2 vote came after months of an additional regulatory process following the commission’s approval last May of the update that would have set emissions standards for Arizona’s utilities.

“We hope the Arizona Corporation Commission’s rejection of these rules isn’t the last word on cutting greenhouse gas emissions from Arizona’s electric utilities and moving Arizona into a clean-energy future,” said Adam Stafford, senior staff attorney at Western Resource Advocates in Phoenix. “The committee needs to regroup and develop a new path forward that will allow Arizona to tackle the current climate crisis. The energy sector offers some of the most cost-effective opportunities to reduce climate pollution. Arizona’s largest utilities have all said they want the regulatory assurance of a firm emissions reduction standard, and the business community has backed it. Our state needs rigorous standards to reduce the emissions that cause climate change and realize the economic benefits of clean energy.”

The commissioners who voted against the approval largely attributed their decision to avoiding higher energy tariffs.

“When I ran for the Commission, I pledged to pursue a policy that will lead to the lowest possible rates while still maintaining secure and reliable services. I have tried to live up to this promise with each of my votes in the Commission and today’s vote was no exception. I proudly voted to respect the will of voters and protect taxpayers from unwanted rate hikes,” said Commissioner Justin Olson (R).

Commissioner Sandra Kennedy (D) expressed her disappointment in a statement after the vote.

“This is a sad day for Arizona. This vote is one of the worst that has happened to the Commission in recent history, and represents a sad turn against clean energy, energy efficiency and smart grid solutions from three of my fellow Commissioners,” Kennedy said.

Comments are closed.