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S&P Global: Ariz. Regulators Kill 100% Clean Power Proposal Amid 'Political Theater'

Posted by Garrett Hering on May 6, 2021

S&P Global outlined Arizona regulators’ vote against 100% carbon-free electricity, quoting AEE’s Shelby Stults on the surprising outcome. Read snippets below and the full article here.

Despite strong support to completely wean Arizona's power sector off fossil fuels in coming decades, including from Arizona Public Service Co., the state's largest utility, state regulators late on May 5 shot down a sweeping proposal to reach 100% carbon-free electricity by midcentury.

The Arizona Corporation Commission's 3-2 rejection came after a series of contentious amendments that would have watered down and delayed implementation of the regulation, over which the commission has deliberated since 2018. Commissioners Sandra Kennedy and Anna Tovar, both Democrats, joined Republican Commissioner Justin Olson in voting no.

That vote came after Olson joined fellow Republicans Commissioner Jim O'Connor and Chair Lea Márquez Peterson in approving an amendment to make the rules nonbinding. Kennedy and Tovar opposed that and other amendments, which they said weakened the rules, forcing them to oppose the stripped-down proposal… 

Moreover, all five commissioners spoke favorably about the underlying goal of decarbonization during the marathon, nearly 12-hour-long meeting.

"It was absolutely a shocker to see things so quickly unravel," Shelby Stults, principal at Advanced Energy Economy, a national business association that supported passage of the rules, said in a May 6 email. "Despite broad support from the utilities, environmental advocates and clean energy business to move the rules forward, the spin, political theater and pressure from the Legislature won the day."

As a result of the decision, Arizona will be at a competitive disadvantage to neighboring states, according to Stults. "Advanced and clean energy resources are more affordable than ever and provide the state with significant economic opportunity in local communities," Stults said. "The ACC had an opportunity to set the state up for success in order to strengthen energy reliability and affordability and instead set the state back significantly."

Read the full article here.

Topics: Regulatory, AEE In The News, Arizona