mandate

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.

 

Advertisements

Vote NO on Arizona proposition 127 the renewable energy mandate

Arizona proposition 127, dubbed “The Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona Amendment” has qualified for inclusion on the November ballot although it is still being challenged in court. If this amendment to the Arizona Constitution actually reaches the ballot it would, if passed, require affected electric utilities to provide at least 50% of their annual retail sales of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030. The amendment defines renewable energy sources to include solar, wind, small-scale hydropower, and other sources that are replaced rapidly by a natural, ongoing process (excluding nuclear or fossil fuel). Distributed renewable energy sources, like rooftop solar, must comprise at least 10% of utilities’ annual retail sales of electricity by 2030. The Amendment allows electric utilities to earn and trade credits to meet these requirements. (Read full text)

Arizona currently produces half of its renewable energy from hydropower created by the large dams on the Colorado River, but, according to the proposed amendment, this electricity is not counted in the 50% mandate. According to the Energy Information Administration, power plants in Arizona generate more electricity than the state consumes, and Arizona generating stations supply electricity to consumers throughout the southwest.

In my opinion, this amendment is very bad policy. It is stupid, dangerous, and expensive. In the following summary I explain. More background is available in the references at the end of this post.

Stupid:

The push toward renewable energy, especially wind and solar generation, is based on a false premise: the contention that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels are a significant cause of global warming, and that global warming is dangerous. Utility scale wind and solar installations would not exist were it not based on this false assumption, mandates, and subsidies.

This claim is not based on physical evidence but only upon garbage-in, garbage-out computer models, the results of which diverge widely from observations. I have asked several university climate scientists who support the claim to cite supporting physical evidence. Although they are alleged experts in the field, they could not cite any physical evidence. On the other hand there are several lines of physical evidence that show carbon dioxide emissions do not enhance the dread greenhouse effect. (See references 1, 2, 3 & 4)

Dangerous:

Utility scale wind and solar installations require vast expanses of land that affect local habitats. Wind turbines chop up birds and bats, including endangered species. Solar installations burn up birds and other flying animals. Low frequency sound from wind turbines causes a variety of human ailments. The manufacturing and disposal of solar panels put dangerous chemicals into the environment. For example, many PV solar panels rely on polysilicon being manufactured in large quantities and at high quality. A byproduct of polysilicon production is silicon tetrachloride, a highly toxic substance that poses a major environmental hazard. Wherever silicon tetrachloride is dumped, the land becomes totally infertile. A major environmental cost of photovoltaic solar energy is toxic chemical pollution (arsenic, gallium, and cadmium) and energy consumption associated with the large-scale manufacture of photovoltaic panels.

new study shows that solar modules cause more greenhouse gas emissions than modern coal power plants. It turns out that because of the emissions of extraordinarily potent greenhouse gases nitrogen trifluoride and sulfur hexafluoride and energy requirements of manufacturing solar modules, solar energy ends up being worse for the climate than burning coal (assuming the greenhouse global warming hypothesis is valid). (See references 5 & 6)

Expensive:

Electricity produce by wind and solar turns out to be much more expensive than electricity produced from coal and natural gas. That is mainly because wind and solar are unreliable, they can’t respond to demand. Therefore they need nuclear or fossil fuel generated electricity as backup which causes the fossil fuel plants to run inefficiently which produces more carbon dioxide.

Europe has been a world leader in using wind and solar energy. The price, however, is high. The more installed solar and wind capacity per capita a country has, the higher the price people pay for electricity. In some European countries electricity prices are triple the average cost in the U.S. Ironically, carbon dioxide emissions in those countries are rising while in the U.S. emissions are decreasing. Also ironically, according to the New York Times, renewables are helping to push nuclear power, the main source of zero-carbon electricity in the United States, into bankruptcy.

 

Generating more electricity from solar and wind is just a very expensive exercise in political correctness that will have little impact on carbon dioxide emissions, but a big impact on your wallet and an adverse impact on electric grid stability and the environment.

 

References:

1. A Simple Question for Climate Alarmists

2. Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

3. Failure of climate models shows that carbon dioxide does not drive global temperature

4. Health Effects of global warming on humans

5. Avian mortality from solar farms

6. Health Hazards of Wind Turbines

7. The high cost of wind and solar generation of electricity