Groups Push For Stronger Clean Energy Rules In Arizona As APS Seeks More Solar, Wind

As clean energy stakeholders urge Arizona regulators to adopt stronger renewable energy standards, Arizona Public Service Co. (APS) has announced plans to add new solar and wind resources, helping expand the company’s renewable energy portfolio to about 2.5 GW by 2021, which would be enough to power more than half a million Arizona homes.

The company plans to issue two requests for proposals (RFPs) by Sept. 15. The first RFP will seek competitive proposals for up to 150 MW of APS-owned solar resources to be in service by 2021. This solar generation will be designed with the flexibility to add energy storage as a future option. A second RFP will pursue up to 250 MW of wind resources to be in service as soon as possible, but no later than 2022.

Phoenix-based APS serves about 2.7 million people in 11 of Arizona’s 15 counties.

Today, more than two dozen groups representing consumer, faith, business, environmental, public health and tribal community interests submitted a joint proposal for a “strong clean energy plan” to utility regulators at the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC). The commission will hold an energy rules stakeholder meeting in Phoenix on Wednesday.

The groups are urging the ACC to increase the amount of renewable energy powering the state to 50% by 2030 and expand consumer options such as energy efficiency and solar measures, according to a press release from Vote Solar.

The joint comments were submitted as part of an omnibus rulemaking currently underway at the ACC to address a range of electric industry issues. Specifically, the joint comments call for the following measures:

  • Setting binding standards that require utilities to provide 50% of their power from renewable sources by 2030 and 100% from clean, zero-emission sources by 2045;
  • Ensuring that by 2030, 10% of electricity comes from local distributed resources, including rooftop solar, community solar and other customer-driven energy options, with a simpler compliance metric to track progress;
  • Ensuring cumulative energy efficiency savings of at least 35% by 2030; and
  • Establishing a more comprehensive and transparent energy planning process, to provide more effective opportunities for public and stakeholder engagement and greater accountability when the ACC reviews utilities’ integrated resource plans.

“Sunny Arizona has some of the strongest solar resource of anywhere in the country, and we believe that every family, business and community in this state should be able to go solar if they so choose,” comments Art Terrazas, Interior West director with Vote Solar. “We are urging the ACC to support competitive clean energy options, business innovation and consumer savings with a strong plan for Arizona to harness more of that plentiful sunshine for power.”

“The Navajo Nation is blessed with world-class wind and solar resources,” says Carol Davis, director of Diné CARE, a nonprofit that works with Navajo communities affected by energy and environmental issues. “Renewable energy will play a central role in helping build a new, sustainable tribal economy that is in line with Diné fundamental laws and that provides benefits to local communities like coal never did. These clean energy rules will help facilitate this transition, giving the people of the Navajo Nation – and all residents of Arizona – an opportunity to reap the environmental and economic benefits of true energy independence.”

“Our state’s current solar energy goals are a missed opportunity for all Arizonans in a state that gets, on average, 300 sunny days a year,” adds Bret Fanshaw, Arizona program director of Solar United Neighbors. “We’re calling on the ACC today to significantly raise the renewable energy standard and ensure that every homeowner in Arizona who wants to claim energy independence can do so by going solar.”

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