E&E News reporter Jason Plautz writes that shifting politics in Arizona have stalled a bipartisan push for a carbon-free electricity standard.
In a nutshell:
Arizona's potential for clean energy progress remains hampered by political divisions. Two years ago, bipartisan support for a 100 percent clean energy standard by 2050 existed but was thwarted by political opposition. Despite recent Democratic gains in statewide offices, Arizona remains politically divided, making it a challenge to advance clean energy policies. The state's utility regulatory panel, the Arizona Corporation Commission, now leans Republican and has shifted away from clean energy standards. As other states embrace clean energy, Arizona's path forward in this critical area remains uncertain due to its unique political landscape and differing policy priorities.
“There’s a lot of interest in solar energy and clean energy, and one way to get there is a commission that is not unduly influenced by utilities,” former Arizona regulator Bob Burns said. “We need to get voters to understand at the highest level what the commission does and who is running. That’s our opportunity to change the way things are.”
The big picture:
Transitioning to clean energy in Arizona would significantly reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, leading to cleaner air and a decrease in respiratory illnesses, particularly in urban areas. The expansion of renewable energy sources like solar and wind would also conserve water resources, crucial in a state frequently grappling with drought. Finally, the development of a robust clean energy sector could create new job opportunities, bolstering the state's economy while contributing to a healthier and more sustainable future for Arizona's residents.
Read the article at E&E News.
Clean energy might not be a priority (right now), but some Arizona cities are working toward climate solutions. For example, Tucson's ambitious tree planting goal aims to improve the health of residents, wildlife, and the watershed.