After 4 years of workshops, public meetings, and 1000s of supportive comments including many from AzPHA, the Arizona Corporation Commission voted down an energy rules package along party lines last week.
Commissioners Sandra Kennedy and Anna Tovar voted yes on the widely supported rules and Commissioners Lea Márquez-Peterson, Justin Olson, and Jim O”Connor voted no. The rules died after Commissioner O’Connor flipped his vote to no after voting yes on the exact same rule package late in 2021.
The rules would have created a Clean Energy Standard to reduce carbon emissions, an energy efficiency standard to reduce electricity consumption and save ratepayers dollars, more accountable and transparent resource planning provisions, and a requirement to give favorable siting consideration for clean energy projects in coal-impacted communities, among other things.
Community groups, environmental organizations, local governments, big and small businesses, faith leaders, and consumer advocates had all repeatedly expressed support for the Clean Energy Rules and we are all disappointed the Commission could not bring them across the finish line.
The rules would have saved ratepayers dollars and provided enormous economic benefits. Business leaders spoke in support of the rules, recognizing their value for Arizona’s economy. In January 2021, Stategen released a report that found that adopting the original draft Clean Energy Rules would not only significantly reduce carbon emissions to address the climate crisis, but also create $2B in economic benefits for Arizona.
The work over the last 4 years isn’t totally lost, and it’s possible that a future Commission after the 2022 election may take up the clean energy rules again and leverage the hard work of the last 4 years.