Questions & Answers
What is the Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona Ballot Initiative?
The Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona Amendment requires affected electric utilities to provide at least 50% of their annual retail sales of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030. The Amendment defines renewable energy sources to include solar, wind, small-scale hydropower, and other sources that are replaced rapidly by a natural, ongoing process (excluding nuclear or fossil fuel). Distributed renewable energy sources, like rooftop solar, must comprise at least 10% of utilities’ annual retail sales of electricity by 2030. The Amendment allows electric utilities to earn and trade credits to meet these requirements.
Who is behind it?
Tom Steyer, a hedge-fund billionaire from California is bankrolling the entire initiative. Steyer has committed millions of dollars to support its passage.
How much will this mandate cost electric customers?
This mandate will require utility customers to spend billions of dollars on expensive battery storage, wind, and solar generation. The costs for each and every Arizonan would range from $500-1,000 per year or $45-100 per month.
Who will be hurt by these mandates?
Every Arizonan. Electricity rates will have to be increased by utilities on all their customers including business and industry. This will in turn have a cascading increase on goods and services which will compound the negative impact on our wallets. Research also shows that emissions would increase if this initiative is passed.
Why should I care?
Beyond the harmful costs being inflicted by a California billionaire, the constitutional amendment process is preserved for Arizonans. In this case, a wealthy hedge fund billionaire from California is trying to dictate policy and his “I know best” views on Arizona.
Aren’t utilities already investing in renewables energy?
Arizona utilities have significantly invested in solar energy for many years. Since 2012, Arizona has ranked second in the country for U.S. solar energy production. While other renewable sources identified by the initiative can be found in Arizona, they are not as dependable or readily available.
Renewables are highly location-dependent. Unlike California, Arizona does not have affordable access to wind and geothermal. Arizona does have access to solar, but generation of electricity from solar decreases throughout the day and disappears when the sun goes down leaving the need for alternative sources of energy.
Will my electricity be less reliable?
This is one of the biggest concerns with the mandates proposed by this ballot initiative. Relying more heavily on sources of energy that are intermittent (when the sunsets, or the wind stops blowing) creates a dangerous situation. If a power supply is not readily available to continue power delivery, services will be disrupted. Although the initiative attempts to address this concern by requiring battery storage, this technology is not yet proven and deployed at the scale that the grid will require.
What happens when weather events last longer than anticipated and the batteries run out?
“The addition of substantial levels of wind and solar resources to an electric energy grid raises significant reliability concerns at the transmission system level because these resources operate intermittently and, unlike other generating resources, they do not spin in synchronism with the grid. An electric grid is a large complex machine that must have many needs attended to in order to function properly. Dependable rotating generation operating in synchronism across the power system enabled the evolution of the modern grids. Without due regard to the issues of intermittency, voltage control, frequency control, and grid inertia an electric grid cannot operate reliably and stably. If the first world continues to expect affordable electricity, when we want it and in whatever quantity we want, these needs must be met.”
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