- A research professor at Arizona State University is predicting thousands of job losses if voters approve a 50% renewable energy ballot proposal. However, the Arizona Daily Sun notes the research is financed by the state's largest utility Arizona Public Service Co. — which is currently campaigning against the ballot initiative.
- Timothy James, a research professor at ASU's W.P. Carey School of Business, predicts $3 billion lost in state and local taxes and 7,000 jobs lost by 2060 if the clean energy initiative passes.
- The state has already met its 15% RPS standard. A ballot proposal backed by super PAC NextGen America and billionaire Tom Steyer would raise it to 50%, but is facing opposition from lawmakers and APS. The utility already admitted to funding a group opposed to the initiative and backed legislation aimed at softening the financial impact of complying should it be voted into the constitution.
The Arizona Daily Sun reports the projections rely on some interesting assumptions. For instance, the research assumes APS will close down the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, despite a proposal from the Arizona Corporation Commission that would include a carvout for nuclear, presumably to help APS preserve its stake in the facility. The research was also not peer-reviewed, and the Daily Sun tracked down another ASU researcher whose own research showed no correlation between job losses and renewables and was peer-reviewed.
The ACC measure would boost the RPS to 80% by 2050, include a carveout for nuclear and require utilities to invest in 3 GW of storage. While APS has not directly endorsed the proposal, it is likely more palatable to the utility because of the inclusion of nuclear.
In addition to those efforts, APS and Republicans in the state's senate floated a ballot initiative of their own, that would amend the state's constitution to also set a 50% renewables goal by 2030. However, the measure would allow regulators to set the requirements aside should it raise customers' bills or hurt reliability.
Both proposals are similar enough to potentially cause confusion. The APS-backed ballot proposal is called the "Clean and Affordable Energy for a Healthy Arizona Amendment." The first proposal is dubbed "Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona."
The ACC also wants to do a cost-benefit analysis of all clean energy plans, including the ballot proposals.