The new chairman of the state Corporation Commission signaled Monday that the days of pushing solar and renewable energy over other sources are over.
Years ago the commission, in bipartisan fashion, voted to require electric companies to get at least 15 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2025. Proponents said diversification of sources is desirable and better for the environment. The mandate allows utilities to pass along some of the cost to ratepayers. Since that time the supportive Republicans have left. And in November the last two Democrats on the panel were defeated. On Monday, incoming chairman Bob Stump said he wants to focus now to be not on philosophical goals but those which make financial sense.
"You know, I’m a betting man, so to speak, but I don’t bet recklessly, and I don’t bet with other people’s money. And that’s why I refuse to bet on, or cheerlead for, any one form of technology – and why I instead choose to pursue a path in which adequate, reliable service is ensured and rates are just and reasonable," Stump said.
Stump said he's not proposing to scrap the current renewable energy standard. And he said some of the state's energy needs should be met with renewable energy. But he also won't be pushing to expand or accelerate it. Instead, he said the state's energy future must also include coal and natural gas. Stump said he also supports nuclear power. But he said officials of Arizona Public Service, the state's largest electric company, informed him they will not need new nuke plants for the foreseeable future.