Initiative Aims To Significantly Raise Arizona's Renewable-Energy Standard

By Will Stone
Published: Friday, February 9, 2018 - 5:35pm
Updated: Monday, February 12, 2018 - 10:07am

Voters could soon decide whether Arizona should require that 50 percent of its energy come from renewable sources by 2030.

On Friday, a campaign to amend the state Constitution filed with the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office in hopes of getting the measure on the November ballot.

The initiative, Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona, would significantly raise the state’s existing renewable-energy standard of 15 percent by 2025.

NextGen Climate Action, a nonprofit founded by progressive billionaire Tom Steyer, is the major backer of the proposed ballot measure, according to Bill Scheel a consultant for the campaign.

Scheel says the focus will be on improving things that affect public health, like air quality, and a coalition of local groups such as the Arizona Asthma Coalition will be involved, too.

He said the 50 percent target by 2030 will look relatively similar to the existing renewable-energy standard. The campaign will need to get more than 225,000 valid signatures by early July in order to get the measure on the ballot and amend the Constitution.

“It will take quite a bit of money, and we are talking to a number of individuals and interests that would be supportive of this type of effort,” Scheel said. “We are looking for a broad base of funding.”

While the campaign hopes to get support from the renewable-energy industry, Scheel said the solar industry is not driving the campaign.

He isn’t yet sure what kind of opposition it might face.

“Our clean-energy production in Arizona has kind of plateaued, the major utilities have met their goals under the current renewable-energy standards,” Scheel said. “We need to keep pushing if we want to have cleaner air and more renewable energy.”

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