Arizona outlines possible path to 100 percent clean power by 2050

Arizona may soon join a long list of states promising to reach 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2050, although a final decision on its plan to get there won’t be made until after Tuesday’s election.

A 3–2 vote Thursday by the Arizona Corporation Commission approved a plan that is the subject of a month-long debate among regulators over the best ways to renew the state’s renewable energy mandate, which is set to exceed 15 percent by 2025 Has been set for For a decade.

The newly approved changes will dramatically boost those goals for investor-owned utilities Arizona Public Service and Tucson Electric Power, with 50 percent reductions in carbon emissions from 2016 to 2018 and average levels by 2032 and 75 percent reductions by 2040 . Utilities will be required to generate all fossil-fuels.

“The climate crisis is affecting Arizona at the moment,” ACC commissioner Sandra Kennedy wrote in a prepared statement after the vote. Arizona experienced a record-setting heat wave this summer, and it and other states in the western U.S. are facing larger and more devastating wildfires. “I am delighted that the Commission was finally able to look past past partisan politics to support science and economics-based policy, which stakeholders, utilities and ratepayers could all agree on and benefit from.”

Investor-owned utilities from Arizona have already made plans for decarbonization. The Arizona Public Service promised in January to reach zero-carbon energy by 2050, with interim 2030 targets to exit its remaining coal-fired power plants and 65 percent clean electricity, including 45 percent Renewable energy and carbon-less power is included from its Palo Verde nuclear power plant.

Tucson Electric Power plans to close its remaining coal plants by 2035 to reach 70 percent renewables by 2032, but has yet to set a 100 percent carbon-free mandate. The Spelling Municipal Utility Salt River Project, which is not subject to ACC regulations, plans to cut emissions by 62 percent by 2035 and by 90 percent by 2050.

New targets for distributed storage, long term renovation plan

The ACC approved regulations package includes a number of amendments that will affect the mix of resources that utilities adopt to reach their carbon reduction goals. These include a mandate that makes energy storage systems 5 percent of the state’s resource mix by 2035 and 40 percent of the total is customer-owned or leased.

Arizona is already building hundreds of megawatts of batteries to store and size from gigawatts of new utility-scale solar projects. APS plans to add 962 MW of renewable energy to its existing 1,700 MW, as well as 850 MW of energy storage.

But Arizona utilities have also moved rooftop solar compensation regulations that reduce the value of standalone solar but increase it for battery-supported solar. According to distribution-promoting groups, adding a carving to distributed solar could lead to the deployment of 200 megawatts of customer-owned or leased energy storage in the state, or about 40,000 domestic battery storage systems by 2035, which is residential solar installer. Sunrun, the nonprofit advocacy group Vote Solar and Solar United Neighbors, and the Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association trade group.

Another amendment supported by the Sierra Club will add new transparency and competitive procurement requirements to 15-year integrated resource plans that present utilities to regulators. Arizona Public Service and Tucson Electric Power have presented integrated resource plans this year to incorporate key build-outs of renewable energy, energy storage, demand response, and energy efficiency as multiple avenues to achieve their carbon-reduction goals Let’s make.

Both have plans to maintain or expand their use of natural gas-fired power for capacity, which will require them to close coal plants and meet load increases in the coming decade, although that Regulators not at the levels included in the plan were previously rejected.

And an amendment passed earlier in October would boost the target for investor-owned utilities to equal 35 percent of their 2020 energy demand by 2030, up from the previous target of 22 percent by 2030.

The narrowly accepted package in Thursday’s vote should still be compiled by ACC staff into the final rule, which will be voted on at a future meeting later. If the final rule is passed by ACC commissioners – three of whom are facing challenges to their seats in Tuesday’s election – it will be brought to the Arizona Secretary of State for a formal rule process that is open to public comment. Will happen.

If established as a state policy, the regime will add Arizona to the list of several states including Hawaii, California, New York, Maine, Virginia, New Mexico, Nevada and Washington State that have reached 100 percent renewable energy or zero Has set policies to cut carbon. By 2050. Connecticut, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin are debating similar mandates.


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