Arizona Corporation Commission plan: State energy will be carbon-free by 2050 | News – Tucson, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona 2020-11-20 09:30:00 –

Phoenix-Southwestern states have adopted a clean energy program that regulates utilities and works towards carbon-free goals. After a few years late, Arizona is starting to catch up.

On Friday, the Arizona Corporation Commission passed a proposal requiring utilities to reduce carbon emissions by 100% by 2050 and meet certain benchmarks in the process.

According to the Commission, carbon-free requires the use of resources that do not generate carbon emissions “due to the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, natural gas, oil, shale and bitumen.” Nuclear and hydroelectric generators, like wind and solar, are considered carbon-free.

A 4-1 vote initiated the Commission’s formal rule-making process. This includes opportunities for customer comments and provides the basis for the final committee voting in 2021.

If approved, the proposal will update energy regulations that have not changed since 2006, according to Commissioner Lee Marquez Peterson, who said updating the rules is “extremely important.”

“From an economic development perspective, Arizona didn’t seem to be competitive,” said Marquez Peterson. “In my opinion, we needed to focus on clean energy and zero carbon emissions.”

Ellen Zuckerman, co-director of the utility program for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, said the decision was “in line with industry trends and Southwest trends.”

Colorado plans 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050, New Mexico plans 100% zero carbon energy by 2045, and Nevada plans 100% clean energy by 2050. Carbon-free means no carbon emissions, but clean energy includes all renewable energies, including fossil fuels with carbon capture technology.

The proposed rules include several standards for state-wide utilities, including requiring Arizona Public Service and Tucson Electric Power to be 100% carbon-free by 2050. On the way, 75% by 2040.

Power companies also need to meet energy efficiency standards to reduce energy waste, distributed storage standards to deploy customer-owned or leased energy storage systems, and improve integrated resource planning processes.

This policy replaces the 2006 renewable energy standards and tariffs, which required regulated utilities to generate 15% of their energy from renewable resources by 2025. Currently, APS plans to generate 45% of its energy from renewable resources by 2030 and 28% of its energy from renewable resources by next year.

Republicans Bob Burns, Boyd Dan and Marquez Peterson, and Democrat Sandra Kennedy voted for the rule. Republican Justin Olson voted against it.

“We are promoting energy efficiency and clean transport in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming,” said Zuckerman, a public interest group, and the bipartisan Arizona vote is unique and sends. He said it was important to the message.

“I think it sends a very strong signal that these issues are not partisan,” Zuckerman said. “They really cross the boundaries of political parties because they are economically meaningful.”

Marquez Peterson said giving 30 years to utilities to achieve these goals is important because it gives them enough time to work on technological development.

“We still don’t know what new innovations and technologies will come out in the future, so we needed to give them the flexibility to get there,” she said. “I think this is more palatable and more affordable for consumers across the state.”

Marquez Peterson said the 2020 elections could change the way the 2021 final vote is done.

“With the addition of two new commissioners, the dynamics of commissions will change,” she said. “Do they fully support the energy rules we have negotiated so far, or do we renegotiate certain parts of it? That’s what we aren’t sure yet. . “

Three seats owned by Marquez Peterson, Burns and Dan were elected in November. Marquez Peterson maintained her position. Democrat Anna Tober and Republican James “Jim” O’Connor were elected to fill the other two seats.

Dianne Brown, secretary-general of the Arizona Public Interest Research Group, said Arizona’s utilities are on track.

“Arizona utilities have recently stepped up to the plate to establish their own commitment to the future of clean energy,” Brown said. “The Commission’s move to adopt strong energy efficiency and clean energy standards will ensure that they meet their promises and ultimately exceed them.”

The APS2020 Integrated Resources Plan, submitted to the Commission in June, states that utilities will provide 100% carbon-free energy by 2050 and 65% clean energy by 2030. APS also promised to end the use of coal-fired power generation by 2031.

Twson Electric’s 2020 Integrated Resources Plan, submitted in June, will generate more than 70% of electricity from renewable resources “in a portfolio that requires 70% less water and 80% less carbon dioxide” by 2035. We promise to provide.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, electricity generation, transmission and distribution account for 27% of greenhouse gas emissions and transportation accounts for 28%. In a November report, a nonpartisan National Assembly of State Parliamentarians said many states believe that clean energy production is the key to decarbonizing both the transportation and electricity sectors.

Zuckerman said the switch to clean energy has economic benefits.

“Renewable energy is becoming more and more competitive, often outpacing economical gas,” she said. “This is economically meaningful.”

The APS plan states that utilities need to focus on clean and renewable energy projects in affected and disadvantaged communities. According to Zuckerman, affected communities are those that are “socially or economically affected by the closure of traditional fossil resources.”

The bipartisan-backed package “sends a very strong signal that Arizona has promised to invest heavily in clean energy resources in the future,” Zuckerman said.

Arizona Corporation Commission plan: State energy will be carbon-free by 2050 | News Source link Arizona Corporation Commission plan: State energy will be carbon-free by 2050 | News

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