It’s Time For the Arizona Corporation Commission To Reduce Energy Costs For All Customers

It’s Time For the Arizona Corporation Commission To Reduce Energy Costs For All Customers

By Jeff Caldwell |

Radical Leftists and solar panel companies are freaking out over the upcoming Arizona Corporation Commission meeting on Wednesday, October 11 at 10:00am! But, based on the available public comments, they are the only ones who have contacted the Corporation Commission to express their desired actions regarding what’s on the agenda.

Currently, Arizona regulations force utility companies in the state to buy the extra solar power each solar customer puts into the grid. The Arizona Corporation Commission sets the rates that utility companies pay those customers.

On Wednesday, the Corporation Commission could vote to change the amount utility companies pay to match the break-even cost of the companies. This would reduce the vast majority of Arizonans’ energy bills.

In 2007, the Corporation Commission implemented a policy that required utility companies to pay retail price of solar power to their customers who put solar power back into the grid.

Those customers are still getting that rate today, even though the price of solar power has decreased tremendously over time. The customers are locked into that amazing deal for 20 years from the date of installation.

The 2007 policy ended in 2016 when the Corporation Commission decided utility companies should pay wholesale pricing to customers. However, there was a “great negotiation” between those who wanted the policy to remain in place—the Radical Left & solar power companies—and the Corporation Commission. The new policy implemented allowed for a maximum of only a 10% reduction in the price utility companies pay these customers every year. Since 2016, customers are locked into the rate they are paid for 10 years from the date of installation. Oh, and yes, those customers who installed solar panels between 2007-2016 are still locked in to get paid retail pricing for 20 years from the date of installation.

Because the maximum reduction of the rate utility companies pay to solar power customers who give to the grid is only 10% per year, there is still a huge discrepancy between the true wholesale solar power price and the rate utility companies are forced to pay these customers.

APS calculates their “Avoided Cost” at almost $0.05. This means APS would nearly break even on paying five cents per kWh to solar panel customers giving power to the grid. However, APS is forced to pay nearly $0.09 per kWh. For ten years, APS has to pay this rate to every solar panel customer who gives power to the grid, even though solar power is more than likely going to continue to fall.

The Arizona Corporation Commission sets the maximum profit rate of utility companies. APS’ is set at 8.7%. Being forced to pay customers more for their energy than the break-even cost causes utility companies to charge customers who do not have solar and are not giving to the grid a higher price for energy to meet profits.

If APS is allowed to truly match wholesale pricing for all solar panel customers giving to the grid and pay each one of them just under five cents per kWh, APS would be forced to cut the cost of energy for all of their customers, use the extra funds left over to reinvest, and/or expand its energy providing capabilities.

That’s why, if you really believe in clean energy or just want cheaper utility bills, it’s important to make your voice heard by speaking up, giving public comments, or submitting written public comments.

Right now, the only folks who have been doing so are those who own solar panels and don’t want their pay to decrease or solar panel companies who may face tougher economic hardship. But all customers deserve a say in our state’s energy prices both now—and in the future.  

Jeff Caldwell currently helps with operations at EZAZ.org. He is also a Precinct Captain, State Committeeman, and Precinct Committeeman in Legislative District 2. Jeff is a huge baseball fan who enjoys camping and exploring new, tasty restaurants! You can follow him on X here.

Is The Green Energy Transition Falling Off The Rails?

Is The Green Energy Transition Falling Off The Rails?

By David Blackmon |

Is the much-hyped “energy transition” starting to crumble at its foundations now? In recent weeks we have seen the following:

  • Ford Motor Company warns investors its electric vehicle division will lose $4.5 billion in 2023;
  • Reports that China has commissioned another 50 GW of new coal-fired electricity generation capacity;
  • The British government led by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak beginning to back away from absurdly aggressive transition timelines amid public outcry over rising energy bills and other deprivations;
  • The German government continuing to reactivate mothballed coal plants and facilitating new mining for coal;
  • The Scottish government forced to admit it has facilitated the felling of 16 million trees in this century to make way for new wind farms;
  • The Japanese government moving to reinvigorate its own coal-fired power sector;
  • Global demand for crude oil rapidly growing and outpacing supply growth, surprising all the supposed experts;
  • The U.S. Department of Energy forced to admit its initial estimate of consumer “savings” from converting from gas stoves to more expensive electric models was grossly overstated.

This list could go on and on, but the macro view is clear: Everywhere one looks, the aggressive timelines and heavily subsidized plans for a rapid transition are falling apart. Nowhere is the dynamic becoming clearer than in the wind industry.

In an Aug. 7 report titled “Wind Industry in Crisis as Problems Mount,” the Wall Street Journal catalogues $30 billion in planned investments in new wind projects in the U.S. and elsewhere that have now been delayed due to an expanding variety of factors. “After months of warnings about rising prices and logistical hiccups, developers and would-be buyers of wind power are scrapping contracts, putting off projects and postponing investment decisions,” the story says, emphasizing that the problems are becoming especially severe in the offshore wind business that has been so heavily promoted by the Biden administration.

I wrote a story in July detailing the fact that some of the so-called “Big Oil” companies have recently made big inroads into the offshore wind business, winning bids in the U.S. and Germany for licenses to develop large projects.  But the Journal’s story quotes Anders Opedal, CEO of Norwegian oil giant Equinor, saying, “At the moment, we are seeing the industry’s first crisis.”

Along with British oil major BP, Equinor has plans in place to develop three wind farms off the Atlantic coast of New York, but recently warned state officials they would need to renegotiate power prices or the projects would not be able to obtain the needed financing. This demand by the two oil companies echoed a call by traditional wind developer Orsted in June for more subsidies from the U.K. government if its planned projects in the North Sea are to remain viable.

Make no mistake about it: Developing these offshore wind projects doesn’t come cheap. Orsted pulled out of a competitive bidding auction in Germany last month for government licenses to develop 7 GW of new offshore wind capacity when BP and French oil major TotalEnergies ran the final bids up to almost $14 billion.

“Orsted very deliberately chose not to pay record high concession prices for new offshore projects in Germany,” Orsted CEO Mads Nipper said in a post on LinkedIn. Orsted objected to the process that awarded the licenses based on the willingness of developers to pay the government for the right to develop — the same process used in oil and gas leasing all over the world — rather than the government offering more and more subsidies to incentivize development.

Therein lies the central conundrum for this subsidized transition: At some point, wind, like solar, electric vehicles and all the other rent-seeking solutions being promoted in this energy transition will have to become viable without an expectation of permanently rising subsidies, since governments already seeing their credit ratings downgraded due to overwhelming debt won’t be able to just keep printing money forever.

But, at the present moment, the business models in play do not appear to be headed for that outcome. And that’s why this energy transition seems to be falling off the rails.

Daily Caller News Foundation logo

Originally published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

David Blackmon is a contributor to The Daily Caller News Foundation, an energy writer, and consultant based in Texas. He spent 40 years in the oil and gas business, where he specialized in public policy and communications.

Public Has Chance To Learn About Proposed Solar Project On BLM Land Near Safford

Public Has Chance To Learn About Proposed Solar Project On BLM Land Near Safford

By Terri Jo Neff |

An application to utilize roughly 10,000 acres of public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Mangement (BLM) near Safford for a solar energy project will be the subject of a virtual public information forum later this month.

A right-of-way application has been submitted by IP Land Holdings LLC for its proposed Hopper Renewable Project to be located in the San Simon Valley, about 20 miles south of Safford. The project calls for construction and operation of a 1,000 megawatt solar generation facility entirely located on BLM-managed land in Graham County. The proposal also includes a generation tie-in transmission line.

A Zoom-based public meeting is set for Aug. 17 starting at 5 p.m. and will run about 90 minutes, including an introduction by BLM staff followed by presentations from company officials.

IP Land Holdings is wholly owned by IP Renewable Energy Holdings LLC, a Delaware corporation with operations in multiple states. But for Hopper Renewable Project to move forward it needs to be granted a right-of-way to build on BLM land. It also needs a solar variance because the land involved is outside of a BLM designated Solar Energy Zone (SEZ).

Suchright-of-way applications for utility-scale solar energy development are considered by BLM on a case-by-case basis. Among the considerations are environmental impacts, public comment, and coordination with appropriate federal, state, tribal and local agencies, according to BLM.

Input from the public and other stakeholders will be used by BLM officials to determine whether the company’s application should be denied or allowed to continue to the National Environmental Policy Act planning process. If the application moves forward, there will be additional opportunities for public involvement, according to BLM.

Projects like the one proposed for the San Simon Valley fall under the Congressionally-approved Energy Act of 2020 to promote approval of 25 gigawatts of solar, wind, and geothermal production on public lands no later than 2025. 

Last December, BLM auctioned utility-scale solar energy development leases in each of Arizona’s three solar energy zones (SEZs). The development from the resulting leases and right-of-way could produce as much as 825 megawatts of solar energy.

Heliogen, Inc. placed the high bid of $114,428 for a lease in the 3,348-acreBrenda SEZ near Lake Havasu City, while Leeward Renewable Energy, LLC placed a high bid of $78,728 for a lease in the 2,560-acre Agua Caliente SEZ east of Yuma.

There were no bids for the lease of the 2,618-acre Gillespie SEZ southwest of Phoenix, so BLM made the lands available for application by a non-competitive grant. This resulted in a solar energy right-of-way application being accepted for that zone from Candela Renewables.

The SEZs were previously analyzed and designated a decade ago after stakeholder involvement, including conservation organizations, state and local governments, Tribes, solar energy industry representatives, and cooperating Federal agencies.

BLM must conduct environmental reviews of all site-specific proposals before any company can proceed with development.

Those interested in viewing and/or participating in the upcoming Zoom meeting about Hopper Renewable Project need to enter Passcode 08172022. The meeting will be recorded and posted soon after on the BLM Arizona YouTube channel.  

In addition, interested parties may submit comments until Sept. 17 via email to BLM_AZ_SFO_Solar@blm.gov or by mail to BLM Safford Field Office, Attn: Ron Peru, 711 S 14th Avenue, Safford, AZ 85546.  Be aware that personal identifying information such as name, address, phone number, and email address may be made publicly available.