AZ Regulatory Body Decides to Abolish Standards for Renewable Energy

February 8, 2024
The debate over renewable energy versus fossil fuels intensifies as energy efficiency and renewable standards since 2005 have reportedly saved ratepayers billions and provided substantial net benefits, despite some commissioners' criticisms of the costs. Critics argue that Arizona's slow adoption of renewable resources, despite its solar potential, contradicts economic sense and jeopardizes job creation, air quality, and energy savings derived from energy efficiency and solar investments.
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  • Arizona utilities have significantly benefited from energy efficiency and renewable energy standards, with APS reporting $1.3 billion in net benefits from efficiency programs since 2005 and 15% of its 2022 electricity sales coming from renewable sources. An independent study highlighted $1.97 billion in gross benefits for the public and customers of APS and TEP from renewable energy standards since 2006, plus environmental and investment advantages.
  • Commissioner O'Connor criticizes the shift towards renewable energy, referring to it as "a war on fossil fuel," attributing cheap renewable power to federal subsidies and expressing concern over efforts to phase out coal and natural gas, despite his stance receiving criticism for not aligning with the state's interest in exploiting its solar potential.
  • The shift towards renewable energy and efficiency initiatives sees a mix of support and criticism. Advocates highlight the significant cost savings and environmental benefits of these programs, while some commissioners, citing costs to ratepayers, express reluctance. Public comments and participation are encouraged in the ongoing rulemaking process.
  • Despite ongoing debates, APS reaffirms its dedication to energy efficiency and demand-side management programs, emphasizing the continuation of existing programs and a willingness to participate in future regulatory discussions.
  • The proposed changes have spurred a variety of public and official reactions, ranging from support for the continued push towards renewables and efficiency to criticism of what some see as a harmful deviation from progress, highlighting the potential impact on jobs, pollution reduction, and economic benefits.
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