Steve Pierce: Shining a light on Prop. 127

September 28, 2018

There are a lot of claims being made about Proposition 127, a proposed amendment to the Arizona Constitution to require that utilities get at least 50 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2030. I want to bring a few facts to the table:

SOLAR ISN’T CHEAPER: If going to 50 percent renewable energy was cheaper, why does California — which adopted this same standard in 2015 — have some of the most expensive energy in the country? In fact, California energy rates are 50 percent higher than Arizona and have been increasing at a rate three times the national average ever since the state enacted its renewable mandate. Because the sun doesn’t shine all the time and the wind doesn’t blow, renewable energy is intermittent. That means it must be combined with ultra-expensive battery storage, along with consistent power sources such as natural gas plants.

Prop 127 will result in billions upon billions of dollars of additional costs. Guess who’ll end up paying the bill: you and I, every time we get our utility bill each month.

PROP 127 WON’T REDUCE AIR POLLUTION: Vehicle emissions are the primary contributor to Arizona air pollution, including ground-level ozone and the brown cloud.

An independent analysis found power plants like those targeted by Prop 127 have a “miniscule” effect on air quality in the communities where most Arizonans live.

The same analysis says Prop 127 will have “no measurable impact” to improve rates of asthma and similar conditions. If the folks behind Prop 127 wanted to improve air quality, they wouldn’t have written the initiative in a way that threatens continued operation Palo Verde Generating Station — the nation’s largest provider of clean, emissions-free electricity.

Remember: Prop 127 defines nuclear as a dirty energy source. According to the Arizona Residential Utility Consumer Office, Palo Verde will close its doors by 2029 if Prop 127 passes. For those of us who care about clean air and water, that’s crazy.

Steve Pierce is a third generation Arizona rancher, and formerly served as the state Senator representing District 1. He lives in the Prescott area.

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