Archive for November 22nd, 2009

22nd November
written by Arizona Kid

Power generation, solar, coal fired generation, cap and trade the Arizona Corporation Commission aren’t typically topics that would get my attention but after catching Dave Modeer’s commentary on Arizona Illustrated I started to put a number of pieces together and they have my attention now.

The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) is an elected body that oversees a number of aspects of our daily life. The ACC sets power rates, determines how and what utilities market, they set standards for solar generation, they approve or deny new power plants and determine how power lines are located and established. Issues like solar tax credits to individuals and companies, 15% targets for renewable power generation resources by 2025 and EPA efforts to reduce CO-2 emissions from coal fired plants are going to cost us all a lot of money.

Goldwater Institute recently challened the ACC’s solar power regulations:

The ACC passed its renewable energy standards in 2006, setting a target for utilities to be getting 15 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2025. Part of that was for distributed generation (rooftop solar systems) that would be paid for, in part, by rebates from the utilities to help offset the cost of the panels. Those rebates are funded by a fee that is collected by the utilities from all customers based on the amount of electricity they use, but capped at $3.74 per month per customer.

The institute took up the lawsuit on behalf of several APS customers. It contended the ACC did not have the constitutional authority to set energy policy, and that it should have been left up to the Arizona Legislature.

The threat of the original lawsuit created a challenge for the state as it pursued solar companies to come to the region. An overturned renewable energy standard would have meant a flagging market for solar panels in Arizona at a time when other states were adopting similar programs….

“These regulations may be the largest intrusion into private business in Arizona’s history, and consumers are picking up the tab,” said Clint Bolick, director of the Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation at the Goldwater Institute.

Stay tuned for much more on this topic in the weeks to come. Pay close attention to the next ACC elections because their outcome will hit your pocket book.

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