FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 29, 2020
Ellen Zuckerman, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, email@example.com | 609-610-2989
Amanda Ormond, Western Grid Group, firstname.lastname@example.org | 480-227-8312
Sandy Bahr, Sierra Club, email@example.com | 602-999-5790
[PHOENIX, AZ] – Today, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) made history, voting to put the Grand Canyon State on a path toward a healthier and more prosperous clean energy future.
Once final, the bipartisan package will require utilities to be 100 percent carbon-free by 2050 and meet benchmarks along the way, including a 50 percent renewable energy standard by 2035. These benchmarks ensure utilities cannot shelve their clean energy plans for decades before putting them into action.
Utility regulators also adopted new battery storage targets, empowering consumers to store energy generated by solar installations, and made improvements to the utilities’ long-range resource planning processes, ensuring there will be increased stakeholder oversight and a competitive bidding process for new energy sources.
Today’s vote follows a decision by regulators earlier this month to extend and strengthen the state’s energy efficiency resource standard which will ensure that customers of Arizona Public Service and Tucson Electric Power receive more rebates and services to cut energy waste.
Commissioners will need to schedule a final vote to approve the overall rulemaking package including the provisions they supported today. That final vote, expected sometime in November, will initiate a hearing process before all of today’s changes take effect.
We commend Commissioners for their leadership that will ultimately improve Arizona’s air quality, lower customer bills, spur investments in the clean energy sector, and ensure utilities procure the lowest cost sources of electricity, such as energy efficiency, solar, and wind.
“Commissioners should be commended for coming together in bipartisan fashion to modernize Arizona’s energy rules and move the state toward a carbon-free future,” said Ellen Zuckerman, Director of the Utility Program for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP). “This will put Arizona on a path to saving consumers money and creating local, clean-energy jobs, and we encourage Commissioners to schedule a final vote as soon as possible.”
“Pursuing these meaningful carbon reductions ensures Arizona’s utilities move toward clean energy resources that will secure our long-term, reliable, affordable energy future,” said Amanda Ormond, Director of the Western Grid Group. “The Commission has taken a major step to significantly improve the process utilities use to buy energy for their customers. The new process will increase competition and enhance accountability and transparency, resulting in lower costs for customers.”
“For the first time, the ACC has explicitly acted to reduce carbon emissions to address the climate crisis,” said Sandy Bahr, chapter director for Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter. “This is an important action that will help put our state firmly on a clean energy path that will benefit our health, our communities, and ratepayers like me.”
A broad coalition of more than 30 NGOs, industry, faith, and community groups have worked together for two years to urge the ACC to modernize Arizona’s rules on energy efficiency and renewable energy. These rules have been the subject of more than 10 public meetings, thousands of comments filed with the commission, and hundreds of hours of engagement by stakeholders.
Today’s action comes at a critical moment in our history, as we witness catastrophic wildfires in the West, record-shattering temperatures in Arizona, along with our decades-long struggle with air pollution and drought.
This series of votes means Arizona can once again become a leader on clean energy and fully capture the economic opportunities that arise from it.
The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) is a public-interest organization promoting greater energy efficiency and clean transportation in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. For more information about our programs and other work, please visit swenergy.org.