Update: Arizona Gov. Ducey signs bill to undermine RPS ballot proposal
- Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed legislation that would limit the financial penalties for investor-owned utilities which fail to meet the state's renewable energy goals, should voters choose to increase them, Arizona Capital Times reports.
- Arizona is currently embroiled in a debate over its clean energy goals, and it is possible that a ballot initiative to raise the RPS to 50% by 2030 could wind up in front of voters in November.
- According to the Arizona Capitol Times, HB 2005 would limit the financial penalties for violating the standard to $5,000 and possibly far lower, essentially muting the potential impact of the ballot proposal.
Republicans and the utility industry in Arizona are scrambling in case a ballot initiative that would more than triple the state's renewables goals is passed. The state has already met its 15% RPS standard, and utility energy efficiency targets ending in 2020.
The initiative, backed by super PAC NextGen America, which is supported by climate activist and billionaire Tom Steyer, would raise the state's renewable portfolio standard to 50%. To get the measure on ballots in November, supporters will need almost a quarter million signatures by July 5.
Republicans argue that the ballot initiative does not represent the will of Arizona voters, but California interests instead. The law they have passed, which now heads to Gov. Doug Ducey (R), was written in part by Arizona Public Service.
At the same time, regulators on the Arizona Corporation Commission are considering another measure to adjust the standard and include a carveout for nuclear. Under the ACC's proposal, the RPS would rise to 80% by 2050 and require utilities to invest in 3 GW of storage. This may be more palatable to APS, which wants to preserve its stake in the Palo Verde nuclear facility.
Kris Mays, a former ACC Chairman and current professor at the Arizona State University, told Utility Dive she expects the ballot measure would pass.
“I would also say that I think people are aware that Arizona's RPS hasn’t been updated in more than a decade," she said.
Republican lawmakers feel differently. “Take your money and go someplace else,” Rep. Vince Leach (R) said of NextGen America's lobbying efforts, the Capitol Times reported. “Arizona’s constitution is not for sale.”
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