turn off

In a split vote on Thursday, Arizona’s public utility regulator approved a utility plan to obtain all energy from carbon-free energy sources such as solar and nuclear power by 2050, bringing the state closer to other Western states.

The new regulations require power companies to obtain half of their electricity from renewable energy sources such as solar and wind energy by 2035. Then in 2050, they will need to meet all customers’ demand for electricity through renewable energy, carbon-free nuclear energy or energy efficiency measures to subsidize customers for low-power light bulbs or attic insulation.

The new requirements will stimulate the development of solar power plants, battery storage devices and other renewable energy sources, although commissioners debate whether the rule will affect customer bills. Because these rules require additional energy-saving measures, they are likely to provide customers with opportunities to save through utility savings programs.

Arizona Corporation Commissioners passed the measure by 3 votes to 2, which is the first time in 14 years that the requirements have been raised. Republican Chairman Robert Burns, Democrat Sandra Kennedy and Republican Boyd Dunn all voted for the new rules. Opposition Republicans Justin Olson (Justin Olson) and Lea Márquez Peterson (Lea Márquez Peterson).

The power plan will have to phase out coal and natural gas power plants and will need to be started as soon as possible because the plan has temporary requirements to reduce carbon emissions by half by 2032 and 75% by 2040.

The carbon reduction amount will be based on how much carbon the utility power plant emits on average during 2016-18.

The new rules update the “Renewable Energy Standards and Tariffs” passed by the All-Republican Committee in 2006. The bill requires utilities to obtain 15% of their electricity from renewable energy by 2025, and requires them to be required for energy efficiency in 2010 The use of energy efficiency measures can meet 22% of its energy demand this year.

Customers of Arizona’s largest utility company now pay about $3.50 a month to fund the utility company’s compliance with these rules.

“We did something…important to the future of the country”

“The climate crisis is affecting Arizonans. I am very pleased that the European Commission can finally transcend partisan politics and support a science and economics-based policy that stakeholders, utilities and taxpayers can agree to and benefit from,” Kennedy voted. Said in the preparation statement.

Dunn agreed. At the end of the meeting, he said: “What we do is undoubtedly important to the future of the country.”

Also approved on Thursday were updates to utility plans and requirements to build new power plants or conduct transactions to buy electricity from others. The commissioners agreed to the proposals of clean energy advocates such as Western Grid Group and Sierra Club. Will make the utility resource plan more transparent and more competitive.

The commissioner approved these changes as an amendment to a large set of rules they have considered since July and has been under review for four years.

Although they have the right to vote to pass the new requirements, they still need to reconvene the meeting at some point and vote on the entire rule set because they have not yet reached that Thursday.

They made so many changes to the proposed rules that they asked committee staff to spend some time recording the changes on paper so that they could be reviewed before the final vote.

Burns said: “We are worried that because of all the changes we have made, we will lose something because of the crack here.”

Arizona’s requirements keep pace with the times, but California, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington have all set more ambitious renewable or carbon-free energy targets today. It is passed by its legislators or voters.

The new requirements will make Arizona’s renewable regulations more stringent than Montana, Oregon, and Washington, even though Washington’s carbon-free goal is to achieve carbon-free emissions by 2045, five years earlier than Arizona.

In early October, the commissioner approved the state’s energy efficiency requirements for utilities. According to the new rules, utilities must implement sufficient energy efficiency measures by 2030 to equal 35% of their 2020 peak demand. The new rules also include temporary requirements to ensure that utilities work toward this goal every year.

But the commissioners were unable to sort out the details of many other ideas in the energy rules at the October 14 meeting, so they adjourned until Thursday, and they approved more changes to the requirements.

Márquez Peterson (Márquez Peterson) opposed the requirement for renewable energy, but wanted to focus only on carbon emissions, rather than directing utilities to use renewable energy to achieve this goal.

Compared with Proposal No. 127, which failed in 2018, committee members are arguing

At the same time, Olsen opposed any new authorization.

He said: “To be honest, we are sitting here as a committee today, and the standards adopted are very similar to those rejected by voters in Proposition 127 two years ago. I am very frustrated about this,” he quoted Ke Ke. The renewable energy voting method expressed support for billionaire Tom Steyer (Tom Steyer) and failed in Arizona.

Olsen proposed a rule that utilities must not spend more than $1 million a year to meet the new requirements. Márquez Peterson supported this but was opposed by three other commissioners.

Dunn defended these rules, saying they were completely different from voting measures, which he said would limit how utility companies plan for future electricity demand.

Burns also defended the rules, saying that companies looking to expand or move to Arizona are increasingly wanting to know the state’s requirements for renewable energy.

When the committee deliberated the issue in July, Phoenix-based ON Semiconductor, the Arizona Technical Commission (the state has 750 members), aluminum manufacturer Ball Corp., and nine other large companies signed an agreement to increase renewable energy. Required approval.

They cited research from the sustainable development non-profit organization Ceres, which showed that utilities customers in Arizona saved $2 billion from 2008 to 2018 because of existing renewable energy regulations that stimulated the state Of many solar and wind energy projects.


Show thumbnail

Show subtitles

Previous slide next slide

New requirements for power storage

The new rules include a requirement that by 2036, utility companies must have sufficient energy storage (possibly in the form of large batteries), equivalent to 5% of the utility company’s peak demand in 2020, and part of it needs to be provided by customers Owned, not utility.

This requirement is similar to a rule in the original renewable requirement that part of the renewable energy supply for utilities comes from “distributed” sources, rather than centralized power plants. Almost all “distributed” power generation is rooftop solar for homes and businesses.

“Battery storage can provide more uses for rooftop solar energy,” said Bret Fanshaw, director of the Solar Alliance’s Arizona project in a statement after the vote.

“By storing solar energy during the day and using it when the sun goes down, residents will be able to save money and reduce the cost of the power system. With this standard, we are excited about all the benefits of solar energy storage. Live in Arizona.”

According to the solar and battery trade organization and the company that promotes the rule, by 2035, this demand is estimated to bring 200 megawatts of battery capacity to the territories of Arizona Public Service Corporation and Tucson Electric Company.

If the new rule is passed in a subsequent vote, it will prompt utility companies to provide incentives and fees to help customers buy batteries for their property and obtain a quota for any stored energy utilities.

The rule will also require administrative law judges to conduct hearing procedures to ensure that these rules are appropriate before they come into force. This may take several months.

Contact reporter Ryan Landazo In Ryan.Landazo@ arizonarepublic.com or 602-444-4331. Follow him on Twitter @UtilityReporter.

Subscribe to azcentral.com now.

Read or share this story: https://www.azcentral.com/story/money/business/energy/2020/10/29/arizona-regulators-require-utilities-have-100-carbon-free-power-2050/ 6071275002 /