Should Half Of Arizona's Energy Come From Renewables?

Published: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 - 5:30pm
Updated: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - 4:54pm
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(Photo by Will Stone - KJZZ)
A coalition of public health and clean energy groups are spearheading an effort to make 50 percent of Arizona's energy come from renewables by 2030.

Arizona voters could soon be faced with a question — should half of the state’s energy come from renewables?

On Tuesday, a campaign to significantly raise the state’s existing clean energy target launched with the goal of getting the measure on the November ballot.

The initiative, Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona, would require that 50 percent of the state’s energy be renewable by 2030. The current mandate is 15 percent by 2025.

Organizers hope to put the new renewable portfolio standard in the constitution, which would require more than 225,000 signatures by early July.

No ballot language has been filed yet.

A handful of local energy and public health groups are behind the effort, but it its also getting support from NextGen Climate Action, a group founded by progressive billionaire and activist Tom Steyer.

“There is really nothing more effective at cleaning our air than getting big companies to provide at least 50 percent of their total electricity from renewable resources by 2030,” Shauna Smith, a nurse practitioner at Mountain Park Health Clinic, said at the campaign launch in Tempe.

It’s unclear what kind of opposition the initiative will face. The head of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce has already come out against the proposal.

A statement from Arizona Public Service said the utility has many questions like how consumers would be protected from high prices, but it hasn’t taken a position yet.

Phoenix has the fifth-highest ozone levels of any metropolitan area in the country and nearly 123,000 people who suffer from asthma.

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