Queen Creek resident Nick Myers and Mesa resident Kevin Thompson, a Republican team running for the Arizona Corp. Commission, are calling upon the Biden administration and Arizona’s Congressional delegation to reject the proposed Clean Energy Performance Program that is a major component of the president’s $3.5 trillion reconciliation package.
The program mandates that 80% of electric generation come from carbon-free sources by 2030 or the utilities risk fines of $40 per megawatt-hour. The package recently passed the House Energy and Commerce committee and must pass the House before it heads to the Senate, according to a release.
The Clean Energy Performance Program would mandate utilities meet a goal of 4% increase in carbon-free energy per year from 2023 and 2030. If the utilities meet the goal, they will receive a government grant of $150 per MWh on 2.5% of their carbon-free sales.
“This mandate by the federal government is not only bad policy but is a lose-lose for the ratepayers of Arizona,” Myers said in the release. “If the utilities abide by the mandate not only will the ratepayers be on the hook for the new infrastructure cost, and the cost of capital to finance the infrastructure, but they will also have their tax money used to pay the incentive. If the utilities do not or cannot comply, the ratepayers will be responsible for the full amount of the penalty.”
Myers explained in the release that Arizona utilities, like APS, have set their own goals to work toward carbon-free electric generation by 2050, and interference by the federal government will only complicate matters and drive-up costs even further.
“We are asking our legislature and state attorney general to intervene, and we pledge to work with them every step of the way to provide a united front against this federal overreach,” Myers said in the release.
Arizona has a very different climate and very different needs when compared to other states, so a “one size fits all” shotgun approach is a disaster waiting to happen, he said. Myers explained that “In addition to that, coal plants across Arizona are scheduled to be closed in the near future and transitions are already in the works. CEPP will likely accelerate those closures and do more harm to local communities.”
“Arizona’s booming economy and growing population places strains on the utilities’ ability to build new infrastructure to serve consumers while maintaining a reliable power grid. That’s a very different situation from states with flat growth, or states losing population. You can’t force mandates like CEPP on a state like Arizona without risking rolling brown or blackouts,” Thompson, a Mesa council member, said in the release. “Without technological advances that make battery storage more efficient and effective, you risk jeopardizing the electric grid when peak demand is at its highest.”