Under Republican leadership, Arizona has enjoyed years of steady economic growth and forecasts show that our state should continue to outpace the U.S. national average for job, income and population growth. However, across the country, the far-left has put wildly extreme job-killing measures on the ballot in November to try to help their get-out-to-vote efforts in important swing states.
In Arizona, Proposition 127 would force utilities — like the electric company — to source 50 percent of their power from renewables by 2030. Obviously, this idea has excited liberal activists in Arizona and the proposal has generated millions of dollars of out of state support; including more than $18 million from the ultra-liberal California billionaire Tom Steyer.
In 2006, Arizona took its own step toward phasing-in renewable power in a swift, but responsible manner. Proposition 127, however, would push utilities to shift to renewables twice as fast as Arizona regulators — who are the true experts on what our grid can responsibly handle — are currently recommending. Supporters of Proposition 127 are making this seem like an all or nothing decision for voters by ignoring the efforts to increase the reliance on clean energy already underway in Arizona.
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Additionally, the out-of-state backers of Proposition 127 are ignoring the overwhelming evidence that this extreme ballot measure would result in dramatic increases in electricity bills that would hurt businesses, lower income families, and threaten Arizona’s strong economic forecasts. Proposition 127 will result in higher electricity rates for most Arizonians because several power plants that the state currently relies on will be forced into early retirement.
Incredibly, this includes Palo Verde nuclear power plant because, although nuclear does not generate greenhouse gasses, it is not on the approved list of power sources in Proposition 127. If Palo Verde closes, and its majority owner has promised that it will be forced to do just that, Arizona will lose the largest single source of carbon-free power generation in the United States and our state will lose its biggest single tax payer. Nuclear is cheapest power on earth — the sources replacing Palo Verde will undoubtedly be more expensive for Arizona ratepayers.
Rates in Arizona will also be pushed up because, ironically, Arizona ratepayers currently benefit from California’s extreme renewable mandates. Renewables often generate more power than is needed during the middle of day and California actually pays Arizona to take this excess power through a phenomenon called “negative pricing.” California’s woes help keep Arizona’s electricity bills low and the renewable mandates in California, which Tom Steyer so desperately wants to replicate in Arizona, has resulted in rates that are 54 percent higher than Arizona.
Consider this research compiled by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce:
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• Arizona Public Service Co: “A new analysis by the Seidman Research Institute at Arizona State University finds the typical APS household will see its utility bills climb by $1,900 over the course of a year, under Prop 127.”
• Tucson Electric Power: “analysis finds its typical residential household in southern Arizona will see its bills rise $500 a year if Prop 127 passes; the average business will pay an estimated $3,400 more per year.”
All of these initiatives sound good at first; who doesn’t want more renewable power? But I hope voters in Arizona recognize just how radical Proposition 127 is. Arizona is already shifting to renewables with an agreed upon mandate taking effect in 2025; and, given that we’re already marching toward a cleaner future, the financial impact from this proposal is simply too severe to accept. Electricity rates could potentially double, billions in economic development threatened, and $858 million in lost property taxes to school districts alone.
The bottom line is that Arizona is responsibly balancing economic growth and clean power and we shouldn’t strive to replicate Tom Steyer’s broken model in California.
Ayshia Connors is the Director of Communications at the Arizona Republican Party. She was previously at the RNC.
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