ORIGINAL REPORTING: Waiting For The Million-Dollar Compromise In Arizona
APS spent millions defeating Prop 127. Is a clean energy compromise ahead? The utility beat the push for 50% renewables, but now there's talk of an 80% clean energy standard.
Herman K. Trabish, Nov. 14, 2018 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: The recent endorsement by Arizona regulators of a Clean Peak Standard could move policymakers toward a compromise.
Both sides of Arizona's bitter Proposition 127 debate argued the state could benefit from more renewables, indicating there may be a path to compromise now that the election is behind them. While the dispute over increasing Arizona's renewable energy mandate found little common ground, both sides accepted the inevitability of nuclear power from the Palo Verde Generating Station making up a big part of the state's electricity generation for decades. That could be the foundation on which they build a compromise for a clean energy mandate. An agreement of that kind could support financial stability for the utility that led the charge against Proposition 127, as well as the large infusion of renewables that the proposition's supporters fought for.
The ballot measure, which would have increased the state's renewables mandate from 15% by 2025 to 50% by 2030, lost 69.3% to 30.7%. Yet 86% of Arizona voters support investing in renewables, according to a non-partisan June 2018 poll. APS, the dominant investor-owned electric utility (IOU) in the state, provided almost $30.3 million of the $30.7 million spent to defeat Proposition 127, through corporate parent Pinnacle West. NextGen Climate Action, backed by billionaire climate change activist Tom Steyer, spent $23.2 million supporting the initiative in the most expensive ballot measure campaign in Arizona history. Controversy remains over why voters seemed to contradict themselves, but not over the need to grow Arizona renewables. The two still-unresolved key points in the debate about the proposed increase in Arizona's current mandate, which it calls the Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff — its impact on Palo Verde and its cost to ratepayers… click here for more
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