Long-term Arizona energy policy on the line

By David Wichner

Arizona Daily Star

Much of this year’s election campaign for three seats on the Arizona Corporation Commission has focused on renewable energy, as the state’s solar buildout continues to ramp up under a state mandate.

But not only will the next commission decide the pace of renewable-energy development, it will face critical decisions that may influence Arizona’s energy policy for years to come.

Closer to home, the next commission will decide on Tucson Electric Power Co.’s pending request for a 15 percent rate increase after four years of frozen rates.

The five-member, constitutionally created Corporation Commission regulates utility rates and services, Arizona corporations, securities sales and railroad and pipeline safety.

Three incumbents – Republican Bob Stump and Democrats Paul Newman and Sandra Kennedy – are seeking second four-year terms on the five-member commission.

Two Republicans – Bob Burns and Susan Bitter Smith – join Stump on the GOP ticket.

First-time candidate Marcia Busching rounds out the Democratic ticket.

Also on the ballot are Libertarian Party candidate Christopher Gohl and Green Party candidates Daniel Pout and Thomas Meadows.

Green-energy standard

Renewable energy has become a major issue since an all-GOP commission mandated in 2005 that investor-owned utilities including TEP generate at least 15 percent of their retail power from renewable sources like solar and wind by 2025.

Candidates from both major parties say they’re generally pleased with the state’s progress in green-energy development.

But the Democrats want more solar, while the Republicans – who now control the commission with a three-member majority – say they’re not inclined to increase the standard anytime soon.

The Green Party candidates want to transition completely away from fossil fuels to renewables; the Libertarian Party platform opposes any government control of energy markets.


Also: Phoenix reps testify against U.S. solar tariffs/Phoenix Business Journal

If interested in discussing energy matters, you can contact Court Rich, director of Rose Law Group’s Renewable Energy Implementation Department, crich@roselawgroup.com




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