For Arizona voters – Let’s Finish the Job and Repeal Arizona’s Existing Renewable Energy Mandate

In the November election, Arizona voters rightly and overwhelmingly rejected Proposition 127 which would have established an amendment to the Arizona Constitution requiring that 50 percent of electricity be generated from renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. We need to finish the job and get the Arizona legislature to repeal the existing 15 percent renewable energy mandate imposed upon us by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) in 2006.

In 2013, I wrote an article outlining why this mandate is very bad policy, see:

Five reasons Arizona should repeal its renewable energy standards mandate.

Here is a brief summary of those reasons:

1) Electricity generated from solar and wind is much more expensive than conventional generation. That expense is reflected in higher electricity bills. My current bill from Tucson Electric Power shows “surcharges” directly attributable to the mandate totaling an extra $230 per year. I expect those charges to double as we transition from the current 7 percent renewables to the mandated 15 percent. The ACC itself estimated that, through 2025, the mandate would cost consumers $1.2 billion more than they would have paid for conventional energy sources.

2) Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are intermittent, unpredictable, and unreliable. The electric grid is the lifeblood of modern civilization. Solar and wind generation can make the grid unstable and unreliable.

3) Because generation from renewable energy sources is intermittent and unpredictable, these sources require backup generation which is usually by burning fossil fuels. Experience in Europe shows that backup generators actually use more fuel and produce more carbon dioxide emissions and pollutants such as sulfur dioxide than they normally would if they were run efficiently for primary generation.

4) Use of renewable energy will not impact climate. If Arizona stopped all carbon dioxide emissions it could theoretically prevent a temperature rise of 0.0014°C by 2050. (source)

5) Finally, renewable energy is not as green as advertized.

The manufacturing and disposal processes for solar panels put several dangerous chemicals into the environment. Wind turbines chop up birds and bats. Wind turbines also have deleterious effects on human health, see: Health Hazards of Wind Turbines

Petition the Arizona legislature to end the mandate.

Article 15 of the Arizona Constitution deals with the ACC. Perhaps section 6 of that article provides a means for the legislature to rescind the mandate. It reads:

Section 6. The law-making power may enlarge the powers and extend the duties of the corporation commission, and may prescribe rules and regulations to govern proceedings instituted by and before it; but, until such rules and regulations are provided by law, the commission may make rules and regulations to govern such proceedings. [my emphasis]

Perhaps the legislature could pass a law that says: The ACC shall not mandate the method by which electricity is generated in Arizona. Any and all existing mandates are hereby rescinded and declared null and void.

 

Such a law does not mean that electric companies can’t use renewable energy. It just means that government bureaucrats can’t tell them they must.

The Arizona legislature reconvenes in mid January. Between now and then, please contact your state senator and two state representatives and urge them to repeal the ACC mandate.

To find contact information for your state legislators:

First find your Arizona legislative districthttps://azredistricting.org/districtlocator/

You will have to type in your address or zip code. This site will show both your federal congressional district number and your Arizona legislative district number.

Find an alphabetical list of members of the legislature (with phone numbers and email address):

https://www.azleg.gov/MemberRoster/

Scroll down the list until you find the legislators in your district.

To send a message from the roster:

You can click on the name in the 4th column to get to a message form. Or to send an email directly, use the name in the 4th column on the list and add: @azleg.gov

For regular mail, use this address: Legislator name, Arizona State Senate (or House of Representatives), 1700 W. Washington, Phoenix, AZ 85007.

We should rely upon the free market and let utility companies generate electricity by the method they see as most efficient, cost effective, and reliable. Most renewable energy sources are none of those things.