Arizona Renewable Energy Ballot Initiative

Arizona Renewable Energy Ballot Initiative – Another clean energy vote may pass before voters this fall, but critics say the proposal is intended to mislead voters, not to increase Arizona’s solar and wind power use.

On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Measures passed a law requiring electric companies to source half of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

Arizona Renewable Energy Ballot Initiative

The measure was approved by introducing a new law procedure at the end of the session after the date of the new laws.

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This is more or less the same way the clean energy groups voted in anticipation of the November vote. The difference: if the clean energy transition is too expensive, the measure initiated by the legislator cannot be implemented.

A group associated with wealthy Californian political activist Tom Stier has adopted another clean energy measure. Approximately 226,000 signatures of registered voters are required for this measure to appear on the ballot paper.

Once approved by voters, utilities would need to source 50 percent of their electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind by 2030, a significant leap from current standards. There are no cost-based unfeasible provisions.

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Critics of the measure, pushed by lawmakers such as the Sierra Club and State Senator Steve Farley, D-Tucson, say the bill is an attempt to mislead voters. If two proposals with the same name go to the ballot, voters can simply vote for both, he said.

Public transport services, including the Arizona Public Utilities and Salt River Project, support another voting measure called Clean and Affordable Energy for a Healthy Fix in Arizona.

They are opposed to the first measure called Clean Energy for Healthy Arizona. The titles are separated by two words.

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The sponsor of the measure, which passed the commission on Tuesday, Senator John Cavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, said the bill would give voters an additional option. He said the bill is better than the current initiative because it has a “safety valve” that prevents overcharging of customers.

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APS has already proposed a bill signed by Governor Doug Ducey that would increase fines from $ 100 to $ 5,000 for non-compliance, something the company could easily afford.

The new law would require the same amount of renewable energy, but would allow the Arizona Corporation Commission to waive this requirement if it would unduly increase enforcement costs and jeopardize grid reliability or state welfare.

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The Corporate Commission regulates Arizona utilities and requires that they get 15% of their electricity by 2025. The Commission has considered an 80% nuclear proposal by 2050.

During a heated debate on Tuesday, Farley said he was “appalled” that lawmakers in Arizona would “build up” the coal industry and oppose clean energy.

State Senator Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, said it was “inaccurate” to blame coal for global warming, saying coal-fired power plants were critical to Arizona’s rural economy.

Wind turbines in northern Arizona don’t run frequently, Allen said, and the state needs 24-hour coal or grid power. It’s not credible. The bill for energy is waiting for a vote in November.

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In a 33-page ruling, Maricopa County Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly dismissed the APS-funded group’s argument that Healthy Arizona advocates had successfully tricked people into signing an initiative petition. The decision paves the way for the initiative to be in the November vote for now, but the APS group said it would appeal.

During the five-day trial, the group noted that in its application, which requires energy companies to produce 50% of electricity. electricity from renewable sources by 2030, the word “clean energy” was used. However, energy sector lawyers point out that Proposal 127 does not include nuclear energy in the 50% mandate.

They consider nuclear energy “clean” because it does not pollute the air. By using this term, they said petitioners might have thought the measure would do something it did not.

“It has been made clear that the initiative does not include nuclear energy,” he said. “Renewable energy” does not include nuclear or fossil fuels here, he said.

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But Kelly dismissed the question of whether nuclear power is “clean”, saying that it should not be decided by the courts.

The judge disqualified most of the more than 480,000 signatures submitted by the organizers of the initiative.

In some cases, he found evidence of fraud, such as where multiple names were signed by the same person on the same application form. Kelly also said the signatures of those who did not appear in court after the summons should also be rejected.

But the judge rejected a key argument in nonprofit efforts that organizers knew that more than half of their signatures were invalid. This claim was based on an internal audit by campaign staff who could only verify 47.3% of the signatures held.

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Public service attorney Brett Johnson told Kelly the campaign knew it had signed invalid signatures, hoping that filing so many complaints with election officials would “overwhelm” the system and prevent them from validating the signatures properly.

He said the relevance rates in the analysis are the “conservative, worst-case” estimates intended to gain a basic understanding of what the committee knows to prove competitiveness. That said, this is not a signature assessment that the organizers believe is right.

For example, the judge said that, to be sure, the electoral commission would not consider any signature “valid” if the address on the application did not match the voter’s details.

“It’s a pessimistic assumption that is unrealistic,” Kelly wrote. He noted that county registrars checking a random sample of signature records could find and verify multiple addresses on petitions, even if they did not match the voter records.

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He also rejected the idea that the internal records and analyzes of the election commission should somehow guide his judgment.

“The big question is whether board signatures are valid,” Kelly said. “It doesn’t matter what the officials of this committee (or any other party or party headquarters for that matter) think or believe about the validity of these signatures.

Kelly said that even if he had accepted the committee’s passivity, it wouldn’t have mattered: the election would still come out with more than 225,963 signatures needed to vote.

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But none of that stops Arizonans for Affordable Energy, a group formed by APS and its parent company, Pinnacle Vest Capital Corp. make the last efforts to prevent the issue from reaching voters. Election spokesman Matthew Benson said an appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court was under preparation.

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In fact, Benson said in a prepared statement that his organization would double if Kelly refused, saying that an internal analysis by the petitioner should prove that valid signatures were not enough.

The appeal decision is not surprising. APS and Pinnacle West have already spent nearly $ 10.4 million to revoke the initiative and its mandate.

APS, like other Arizona utilities, must generate 15% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025, as per Arizona Corporation Commission guidelines.

Funded by Californian billionaire Tom Steier, the measure not only invalidates the rules governing the public interest, but actually places that 50% in the Arizona constitution. Steer’s NextGen Climate Action has already spent more than $ 8.8 million to bring the issue to voters in November.

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APS believes that a 50% renewable energy mandate would increase utility bills and could even force the shutdown of the Palo Verde nuclear power plant as it will not need electricity during peak sunshine. Opponents have their own estimates of the economic impact and reject the idea that the future of the power plant west of Phoenix will only be affected by this measure.

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