For Immediate Release: 26 January 2022
Arizona Regulators Reject Pathway to 100% Clean Energy
Corporation Commission votes 2-3, rejecting new clean energy requirements
Phoenix, AZ - Today, the Arizona Corporation Commission failed to approve new rules that would have required 50% carbon emission reduction by 2032 and 100% by 2070. The rules, known as the Energy Rules, have undergone many iterations over multiple years with diverse stakeholder input and broad public support.
The passage of the Energy Rules would have meant cleaner air, healthier communities, progress on a just and equitable transition, and more local jobs. Studies show that Arizonans could have realized billions in energy benefits if the rules passed. But when faced with the opportunity to drive Arizona towards progress, Commissioners O’Connor, Marquez Peterson, and Olson missed a huge opportunity to lead.
“The vast majority of Arizonans want updated clean energy requirements that will keep us competitive with our neighbors and the rest of the country, but our elected representatives on the Corporation Commission aren’t actually representing Arizonans,” said Yara Marin, Regional Director, Interior West at Vote Solar. “This is not the first time the Commission has delayed or dismissed this critical step toward an equitable clean energy future. It is unfortunate that our commissioners will allow our sunny state of Arizona to fall behind when we could easily be a leader in renewable energy.”
A 2020 poll conducted by Public Policy Polling on behalf of Vote Solar found that 65% of Arizonans favor 100% clean energy by 2050. A December 2021 poll by the American Lung Association found similar results, including that 80% of Arizona voters want more solar. A broad set of organizations and companies in Arizona also supported the rules including Arizona Public Service, Tucson Electric Power, the Sierra Club, Arizona Technology Council, The Western Way, Ceres, Advanced Energy Economy, Interwest Energy Alliance, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, and the Arizona Public Interest Research Group, among many others.
“Today the sun set on what should have been a shining opportunity to advance clean energy in Arizona,” said Bret Fanshaw, Arizona Program Director at Solar United Neighbors. “Commissioners should be ashamed at wasting this chance to ensure Arizona families have greater access to clean and low-cost energy technologies.”
In addition to emission reduction requirements, the comprehensive Energy Rules package also included an increase to the state’s energy efficiency standard, reforms to the commission’s integrated resource planning process, and an innovative new battery storage standard. The first-of-its-kind battery storage standard included a carveout for residential customer participation, as well as requirements for utilities to offer upfront incentives and tariff programs to battery storage users.
“The Corporation Commission closed the door on a huge opportunity for economic development in our state. Solar already employs more than 7,000 people in Arizona and a strong commitment to move to 100% decarbonization would have positively contributed to our local economy,” said Autumn Johnson, Executive Director at Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association. “Instead, the Commission has wasted more than three years of government and stakeholder time and resources and has failed to take action to move toward our clean energy future. Anyone who cares about the environment, clean energy, or our economy should be disappointed.”
Vote Solar’s mission is to make solar a mainstream energy resource across the U.S. Since 2002, Vote Solar has been working to lower solar costs and expand solar access. A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Vote Solar advocates for state policies and programs needed to repower our electric grid with clean energy. Vote Solar works to remove regulatory barriers and implement key policies needed to bring solar to scale.
Solar United Neighbors is a national 501(c)3 nonprofit. SUN is a community of people building a new energy system with rooftop solar at the cornerstone. We help people go solar, join together, and fight for their energy rights. We envision a clean, equitable energy system that directs control and benefits back to local communities, with solar on every roof and money in every pocket.
Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association (AriSEIA) is a 501(c)(6) trade organization and the state chapter of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). AriSEIA works to develop and support policies that create opportunities to advance Arizona’s economy through solar energy and storage. We advocate for sustainable job creation and encourage utilization of Arizona’s greatest natural resource, the sun.
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