Western Resource Advocates today commented on a strong majority of Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) members’ recently voiced support for requiring Arizona utilities to transition to 100 percent clean energy by 2050.
“This support by a majority of Arizona Corporation Commissioners for a 100 percent clean energy standard is a step in the right direction, and a shift to carbon-free energy use will benefit Arizonans now and in future generations,” said Adam Stafford, Western Resource Advocates’ staff attorney in Phoenix. “Renewable energy resources have become more cost effective than fossil fuels, and a shift to carbon-free electricity generation is crucial for reducing the harmful emissions that drive climate change. Yet it is also important to note that any ACC policy on a clean energy transition should include an emission-based standard, measured by carbon dioxide emissions reduced over time, in order to be truly effective in helping Arizona address climate change and move toward a healthier and more prosperous future.”
During a March 10-11 stakeholder meeting and workshop on Arizona’s Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff, ACC Chairman Bob Burns had the commissioners informally “vote” on whether to call for a transition to 100 percent clean energy by 2050. Burns as well as Commissioners Sandra Kennedy and Boyd Dunn voiced their support for such a transition. Commissioner Lea Márquez Peterson abstained. Commissioner Justin Olson was the sole “no” vote. Burns then asked the commissioners to file letters outlining their thoughts on proposed changes to the ACC’s energy rules.
The ACC issued a news release last Friday noting that, in response, Commissioner Márquez Peterson filed a letter calling for a commission policy to require regulated electric utilities to generate with 100 percent clean energy by 2050. Márquez Peterson noted that, with the current coronavirus crisis, the ACC’s policy statement supporting 100 percent clean energy would “send direction to the utilities while bureaucracy and a public health crisis prevent the commission from taking a more definitive position on comprehensive rules sooner.”
Prior to the ACC commissioners’ actions in recent weeks, Commissioner Kennedy in January filed a letter calling for 50 percent renewable energy by 2028 and 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045. Commissioner Dunn in April 2019 had filed a letter in support of 85 percent clean energy by 2050, but he supported the 100 percent target during the ACC workshop this month.