State Clean Energy Advocacy
We collaborate with environmental and community organizations, the clean energy industry and utilities to design and implement these policies. We are also advocates for clean energy before the Arizona Corporation Commission, which regulates utilities.
Our research advances scientific knowledge on energy policy and has appeared in journals such as Energy Policy and Ecological Economics.
This year the energy program in Arizona:
- Helped secure the early retirement of three aging coal-fired power plants by working with the plants’ owner and by supporting early retirement in testimony before the Corporation Commission.
- Developed the structure for utility-sponsored shade tree programs in Arizona as an energy efficiency measure; these programs are now distributing about 13,000 trees per year for planting by home owners.
- Published a report that estimates reductions in carbon dioxide emissions from power plants in the West attributable to retirement of coal-fired power plants, renewable energy, and energy efficiency programs.
- Reported on the capabilities of local non-profit organizations to design and implement energy efficiency programs.
- Presented the case for clean energy resources as a hedge against environmental damage, uncertain fuel prices for power generation, and water scarcity to the Corporation Commission during a review of electric utility resource plans.
Going forward, our program will promote energy storage (batteries, flywheels, etc.) as a complement to solar and wind energy, and assist community organizations to deliver energy savings through energy efficiency programs.
Clean Air - Clean Jobs Act: Making it a Reality
Clean Air-Clean Jobs Links
Western Resource Advocates played a central role in the crafting and passage of HB 1365, also known as the "Clean Air- Clean Jobs Act"(pdf). The legislation is the first in the nation to provide a framework for the retirement and replacement of aging coal-fired power plants with cleaner resources, including natural gas, renewable energy, and energy efficiency. Retiring aging coal plants is one of the most significant actions that can be taken to achieve cleaner air, reduce the adverse health impacts from air pollution, and cut heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions.
Critical components fo the Clean Air Clean Jobs Act and Xcel Energy's Plan are:
- Xcel Energy would spend $1.3 billion over 12 years to convert 900MW of generation from Denver-area power plants from coal to cleaner sources.
- The act calls for emissions reductions of 75 percent less nitrogen oxide compounds by 2017, as well as reductions in sulfur dioxide, mercury and other emissions.
- Emissions reductions will be accomplished by transitioning to clean renewable energy sources, upgrading power plant emissions technologies, energy conservation, and replacing coal with natural gas in some cases.
While Western Resource Advocates generally supports Xcel's Plan, our testimony has asked the Colorado PUC to advance the retirement of some of the affected coal plants to 2017 or earlier.
Fighting Climate Change with the Clean Energy Standard
Western Resource Advocates is working to reduce the impact of climate change in the West through an innovative new clean energy standard.
Our clean energy standard can be adopted one state at a time, and places a price on carbon dioxide emissions (which contribute to climate change). It requires utilities to reduce the carbon footprint of their electricity generation each year. The standard encourages utilities to phase-out power generating sources that emit large amounts of carbon dioxide, such as coal plants, and transition to cleaner resources, such as renewable energy, that emit little to no carbon dioxide.
Western Resource Advocates is working to implement our clean energy standard in New Mexico. Once implemented, it can provide a track record for carbon regulation and serve as a model for other states to effectively combat climate change.