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Arizona Voters Could Increase Renewable Energy Mandates This November

by Countable | 10.17.18

Arizona currently requires that 15% of electricity generation come from renewable sources by 2025, but voters could raise their state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to 50% by 2030.

What the Initiative Does

Proposition 127 would amend the state’s constitution to increase Arizona’s RPS each year, until it reaches 50% in 2030. An RPS is a mandate that electric utilities acquire a minimum amount of electricity from renewable energy sources. Renewable sources defined in this initiative include solar, wind, biomass, certain hydropower, geothermal, and landfill gas energies.

Argument in Favor

Raising Arizona’s clean energy requirement will save consumers money on utility bills over the long run, while improving air quality and reducing pollution.

Argument Against

Arizona is already making strides in developing clean energy technology, this proposed constitutional mandate is unnecessary and would raise consumers’ energy bills.

In-Depth

California billionaire and Democratic megadonor Tom Steyer’s NextGen Climate Action proposed, and is financing the campaigns in support of, initiatives to increase RPS in both Nevada and Arizona in 2018. Both these ballot initiatives would raise RPS to 50% by 2030, putting them on par with California’s RPS.

DJ Quinlan, spokesman for Yes on 127, says the group believes passing Proposition 127 would lead to a “massive investment” in renewable energy “while saving money for customers.Quinlan adds that “by expanding and building more cheaper sources of energy, [Arizonans] will ultimately save a good amount of money in the long-run” while also improving air quality and reducing pollution. Proposition 127’s supporters point to a report by the National Resources Defense Council, which found that requiring utilities to get 50% of their energy from renewable sources would save Arizonans over $4 billion on their electricity bills from 2020-2040.

Arizonans for Affordable Electricity, funded by Pinnacle West Capital Corporation, the parent company of power utility company Arizona Public Service (APS), is funding the campaign opposing Proposition 127. APS argues that Proposition 127 would increase customers’ bills by an average of $1,936 a year and result in the loss of thousands of jobs. Matthew Benson, spokesman for No on 127, adds that Arizona’s energy mix is already 50% clean when nuclear power is added, so the state is already “moving in the right direction… in a way that keeps energy affordable.

This initiative made it to the ballot after supporters submitted 480,464 signatures, exceeding the threshold of 225,963 valid signatures.

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / xijian)

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Written by Countable

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