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Archive: Year in Review 2013




2013 Year in Review for Arizona energy policies



What happened in energy policy in Arizona in 2013

EPIC’s Year in Review


What can effective energy policies do for your town, county or the whole state? Policymakers in Arizona have implemented net zero schools, set and met city rooftop solar goals, drafted guidelines for government energy savings performance contracts andattracted utility-scale solar projects by creating solar overlay zones.


Who did EPIC work with this year? Some of the governments we provided research services for include:

  • the Governor’s Office of Energy Policy as they developed the Master Energy Plan for Arizona;

  • the City of Tempe for their General Plan update;

  • the City of Phoenix, the City of Avondale, and the Town of Clarkdale on multiple projects including custom brief sheets on hot topics

What did Arizona policymakers do in 2013?


Read below for a breakdown of just some of the big ticket items tackled this year.  Click on the orange links to read our related policy briefs.


The Arizona Corporation Commission

addressed several significant electric utility regulatory issues this year. In the spring, the ACC decided 2013’s distributed generation incentive levels for APS and TEP. Things started to really heat up when the ACC opened dockets on two major policies affecting the regulated utility business models: net metering and deregulation. In October the ACC unexpectedly voted to end the deregulation discussion, and in November they voted for a $0.70 per kilowatt fee on APS customers who participate in the net metering program. Commissioner Bob Burns noted that the net metering debate is just one aspect of the larger question surrounding the traditional utiilty business model, and Chairman Bob Stump agreed, saying “the heavy lifting isn’t over.” The ACC is expected to address net metering and related issues at the next APS rate case in 2015.

The State Legislature

heard bills to:

  • implement a statewide requirement that residences with a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score of 75 or lower be deemed compliant with state law, and would have prohibited local towns and counties from regulating residential energy consumption or energy efficiency through local building codes (SB 1321 – did not pass). A similar bill in the House of Representatives would have prescribed HERS scores for cities in certain climates and prohibited local control of energy efficiency regulation through building codes (HB 2404 – did not pass)

  • prohibit the state and any political subdivisions from adopting or implementing “the creed, doctrine, principles or any tenet” of the 1992 United Nations Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (SB 1403 – did not pass)

  • require school districts that received refunds or rebates on energy savings devices to spend 50% of that money on corresponding expenses the next year (HB 2495 – did not pass)

  • repeal pool pump efficiency standards that went into effect in 2012 (HB 2334 – did not pass)

Towns, Cities and Counties

Chandler, Avondale, Oro Valley, Peoria, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Springerville, Tucson, Maricopa County, and Pima County adopted and/or implemented the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and Yuma adopted the 2009 IECC. The International Energy Code achieves building-wide energy efficiency measures through prescriptive and performance-based standards. Scottsdalealso implemented the 2012 International Green Construction Code, which is intended to increase energy efficiency and building occupants’ health while also reducing waste.

Phoenix, and Chandler added a Home Energy Ratings System (HERS) index score target as an alternative for building code compliance.

Phoenix wrapped up two major programs: Solar Phoenix 2  residential financing initiative and Energize Phoenix. In 2008 the Phoenix City Council approved two clean energy policies: to obtain 15% of the city’s energy use from renewable energy sources by 2025, and to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 5% below 2005 by 2015. A recent study from ASU found that in 2012 the City exceeded its emissions reduction goal, three years ahead of schedule.

At the Federal level,

the EPA issued its Proposed Regional Haze Regulations in February. The proposed rule would require Navajo Generating Station (NGS) owners to install Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology on all three of its units by 2018. Arizona’s Attorney General, State Legislature, and U.S. Senators oppose the proposed regulation. NGS part owners Los Angeles Water and Power Department and NV Energy are divesting from coal plant ownership by 2019, and in March the remaining NGS owners and other affected parties submitted a planto shut down a full unit after 2019 as an alternative to installing SCR. At this time, the EPA is working on the Final Regional Haze Regulation.

In January, the BLM established renewable energy development areas (REDAs) on 192,100 acres of BLM land in Arizona. REDAs are areas that have been identified as particularly suitable for large-scale renewable energy projects due to their proximity to transmission lines or cities and minimal impacts on water.

REDAs attract renewabe energy investments because they decrease the timeframes and costs of development.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission was court-ordered to restart their review of the Yucca Mountain Waste Repository license application, which stalled in 2009. The Palo Verde Nuclear Plant, located about 50 miles west of Phoenix, is the country’s largest nuclear power plant and supplies 27% of Arizona’s total electricity. All nuclear plants across the country, including Palo Verde, have developed short-term waste storage plans but await a long-term solution.

The Governor’s Office of Energy Policy (GOEP)

continued working on the Governor’s Master Energy Plan.This spring and through the summer they convened four working groups, each tasked with assessing the history, current status and challenges, and ten year vision of topics such as emerging technology research and workforce development. After compiling the working groups’ input into a single document supported by data, the GOEP held stakeholder meetings in Tucson, Phoenix, Flagstaff and Yuma to obtain recommendations from the public. The Governor’s Master Energy Plan is expected to be completed at the end of December and published in January.

The Governor’s Solar Energy Task Force met for its final year in 2013. Over the course of three years, the Task Force investigated and drafting a series of white papers and recommendations on utility-scale solar permitting, solar project financing, and solar economic forecasts. The final drafts are expected to be submitted to the Governor for approval by the end of December.


Clean energy rankings, awards and miscellaneous news

ASU’s work on renewable energy has been attracting attention from around the world, including from The International Renewable Energy Agency, (IRENA) headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE.  IRENA will give special recognition to ASU during the annual meeting of IRENA’s 160 member countries in Abu Dhabi in January 2014. 


The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy ranked AZ 12th in the nation for state energy efficiency policy efforts.

The Governor’s Office of Energy Policy received the National Governor’s Association Policy Academy Award to continue to focus on the link between economic development  and clean energy.

Lake Havasu City saved $419,000 this year by installing solar and implementing energy efficiency projects.

In Maricopa County, one of the world’s largest solar plants began producing power.

Talk to us!


What’s going on in your neck of the woods in 2014?

What energy policies- existing or potential – would you like to know more about?

As always, let us know about any and all public meetings involving energy issues happening in your area and we’ll post it on our widely-used Clean Energy Calendar.

The Energy Policy Innovation Council is a nonpartisan think thank that provides free research and educational services for policymakers throughout Arizona. We focus on current, complex issues in energy policy that impact Arizona’s energy future. We are housed within the Center for Law, Science and Innovation at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.
Copyright © *2013* *ENERGY POLICY INNOVATION COUNCIL*, All rights reserved.Our mailing address is:Sandra Day O’Connor College of LawArizona State University

1100 S. McAllister Ave.

Tempe, AZ 85287