Arizona Utilities Get a Free Pass on Renewable Goals
Arizona’s Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff (REST), adopted in 2006, requires that all regulated electrical utilities obtain 15% of their retail generated energy from renewable resources by 2025. However, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) just created a free pass for TEP and APS in the form of a REST waiver.
Just days before the end of his term on the ACC, Commissioner Pierce proposed an amendment on December 10 to grant Trico Electrical Cooperative, Inc a waiver to the REST requirements if its Planning Reserve Margin is greater than or equal to 18% each year for the next two years. Trico shot the amendment down because they are not subject to the reserve cap rules. But that didn’t stop Pierce. He then proceeded to introduce the waiver for IOU’s the following week. The amendment passed with little fanfare and zero press coverage.
At the Arizona Corporation Commission Open Meeting on Dec 18-19, the Commission ordered that a waiver to the REST requirements be granted to both TEP and APS if their Planning Reserve Margin is greater than or equal to 18% each year for the next two years. In order the obtain the waiver, each utility must file with the Commission documentation that the requirements have been met for two years and if obtained the waiver shall apply for each year that the forecasted Planning Reserve Margin exceeds 18%.
So what does this mean? Utilities get rewarded for having more power than they will ever need. And they get rewarded in the form of a Free Pass making them exempt from renewable energy requirements.
TEP and APS must still file for the waiver if they choose to use it, and we strongly encourage them not to. Renewable Energy Standards are successful energy policies, widely adopted throughout the country, and working to speed our nation’s transition to affordable, reliable clean energy. What is the point of a Renewable Energy Standard if a Commission can wave a magic wand in the form of a waiver making the standard null and void?