Terry Goddard Approves New Rules to Promote Renewable Energy in Arizona, Including Solar Power

(Phoenix, Ariz. - Oct. 20, 2010) Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced that he has approved new rules drafted by the Arizona Corporation Commission that will require utilities to conduct periodic planning of their fuel resource mix and report to the Commission on how they will safely and reliably meet the resource needs of the state.

The rules will require utilities to quantify and consider environmental costs associated with using various fuel resources. Because the environmental cost of using fossil fuels has not previously been factored in, the rules are expected to promote the use of cleaner renewable resources throughout the state, including solar and wind. The new rules take effect immediately.

Goddard has responsibility for making sure that rules adopted by the Commission comport with Arizona law, including the Commission’s rate-making authority under Article XV, Section 3 of the Constitution.

The Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) rules provide for an open, comprehensive resource planning process, and require that all types of future power plant resources be fairly considered. The rules allow renewable energy to be considered on a more level playing field with fossil fuels. Arizona currently gets about 49 percent of its electricity from coal, 29 percent from natural gas, 17 percent from nuclear power and 5 percent from hydropower.

Less than one-tenth of 1 percent of Arizona’s electricity currently comes from solar power, but as Goddard noted, that is changing quickly.

“These rules will help Arizona bring more solar energy jobs to our sunny state,” he said. “Arizona currently sends $1.5 billion per year to other states to buy natural gas for our power plants. These new rules should help jumpstart our in-state solar energy industry.”

Goddard praised the Corporation Commissioners for their unanimous vote to approve the IRP Rules. 

“These rules were developed and supported by a broad political spectrum, including both the Commission's “Solar Team” (Democrat Commissioners Paul Newman and Sandra Kennedy) as well as its Republicans (Chairwoman Kristin Mayes and Commissioners Gary Pierce and Bob Stump). I commend them all for their forward-thinking work for Arizona.”

For more information, contact Mika Marquart of the Attorney General’s Office at (602) 542-7714 or Rebecca Wilder of the Arizona Corporation Commission at (602) 542-0844.