What Potential Impact Will New EPA Clean Energy Rules Have In Arizona?

Published: Friday, August 7, 2015 - 4:36pm
Updated: Friday, August 7, 2015 - 4:38pm
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When it comes to complying with new federal standards for emissions reductions, renewable energy advocates say Arizona’s natural resources position the state well in the coming transition.

According to the National Weather Service, Arizona is the sunniest state in the country. And there’s plenty of wind, too. Especially up north in the high country where coal-burning power plants dot the landscape. Could those plateaus one day be occupied by wind turbines instead? 

Amanda Ormond is Arizona representative for the Interwest Energy Alliance, a nonprofit trade association which helps advocate for clean energy initiatives.

“Arizona has tremendous opportunity because we have abundant sun, wind and energy efficiency which are our lowest cost energy sources," she said.

In its plan released this week by President Obama, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency asks that carbon monoxide emissions be cut by 34 percent in the state by the year 2030. And that’s actually a reduction from the original goals set by the EPA. 

But while environmentalists are applauding new carbon emissions standards, Arizona’s top law enforcement official is not. 

Contending it’s a federal overreach, Attorney General Mark Brnovich has joined Attorneys General in 15 other states who have filed similar stays against the Environmental Protection Agency, asking the courts to decide on its legality first.

Brnovich thinks it’s a federal overreach. As for the utilities, we did receive a release from one of them, the Salt River Project, which reads in part: 

“While it is too soon to determine what specific actions SRP must take to comply with the new rules, the requirements are significant, will likely affect the future use of current generation resources, and will make it more challenging to permit and operate new or modified resources.”

SRP also added that given the rules’ complexity and their potential impacts, litigation is anticipated.

The EPA has extended the compliance period by two years to 2022.

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