Arizona lawmakers are planning to dethrone the state resource regulation committee of the authority to demand the electricity utilities to provide specific percentages of power from renewable energy sources. Similar proposals in the House and Senate are halting the Arizona Corporation Commission from implementing the proposal that would need the state to obtain 50% of its power from renewable energy sources in the next fourteen years and 100% in the next three decades.
The commission developed regulations requiring the state to shift to renewable energy in the next five years and prepare the public for full transition in a short period. These moves had been agreed upon by the Court of Appeal one decade ago. However, the Supreme Court overruled the decision questioning its justification. The lawmakers’ strategic act to halt the commission’s plan of transitioning the nation to the generation of electricity from solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources is frustrating. While the nation is preparing to switch away from fossil-fuel power production, it appears to be controversial when the legislators are stripping the commission of its authority to venture the renewables.
Additionally, members of the commission are not in agreement over the proposal. Some members referred to the commission’s initial purpose, which is to supervise the provision of services like water and power to the public by awarding selected utilities to provide them as monopolies. One of the lawmakers articulated that the commission has gone overboard by requesting some unreasonable rates from these utilities and instituting some policies without the constitutional authorities’ involvement.
The legislator exemplified his point by referring to the July 2020 Arizona Supreme Court ruling where the court was under pressure to consider the commission’s powers as the reason for the way it was conducting business. The ruling reiterated that setting rates like these because of some power vested in the commission required the Legislature’s involvement and not some authority implementing the policies that suit the commission.
Moreover, the constitution’s permissive authority does not mandate the commission authority to create a carbon emissions policy by itself. The commission is expected to recommend the policies or use a member of the House to present its proposals before pursuing these policies. Democrat Anna Tovar stated she is against the move to strip the commission of its power to establish renewable energy standards. She explained that clean and renewable energy steer the businesses in Arizona, and that is why the commission is compelling these utilities to upgrade their standards.