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The 25 Most Influential Hispanic Business Leaders

Benito Almanza
Arizona president
Bank of America
Born into a family of migrant workers, Almanza is now responsible for all lines of business efforts, community and civic activities in the state. The graduate of Stanford University and the University of Santa Clara has been with Bank of America for 30 years, working in California before moving to Arizona in 1992.
His hope for his professional legacy: “Hiring top talent and developing them to replace me someday.”
Surprising fact: “Growing up working with my family in the fields helped me better understand agribusiness banking.”

Marty Alvarez
CEO, principal in charge
Sun Eagle Corporation
Alvarez is founder of family-owned and operated Sun Eagle, one of the top minority-owned general contracting and construction management firms in the country. He has been a chair and officer for the Associated Minority Contractors of America since 1993.
His hope for his professional legacy: “That our well-constructed buildings improved the landscape, and our assistance to individuals and families improved lives.”
Surprising fact: “I have been involved with Shotokan Karate continuously for the past 39 years.”

Victor M. Aranda
Area president, Northern Arizona
Wells Fargo Arizona
Aranda manages six Wells Fargo Community Banking markets; Northeast Arizona, Central Arizona, White Mountains, North Phoenix, North Scottsdale and Scottsdale. He is responsible for 816 team members, 69 banking stores, and $4.1 billion in deposits. A 25-year financial services veteran, Aranda presently serves as a board member for Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Valley Leadership Arizona.
His hope for his professional legacy: “My passion in life is to add value to those I come in contact with.  What I would like to be remembered for is how I spent my life serving, helping and developing the leaders of tomorrow.”
Surprising fact: “I was involved and directed a church Spanish choir and I have also sang in Las Vegas at the Bellagio Hotel.”

Tony Astorga
Retired CFO
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
Astorga recently retired from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona where he served as the Senior Vice President, CFO & CBDO since 1988. He currently serves as chairman of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation and is a member of the board of directors for the Arizona Community Foundation, AZHCC, ASU Foundation, CSA General Insurance Agency, Phoenix Art Museum, and US Bank Arizona.
His hope for his professional legacy: “I would like to be remembered in my profession as a CPA and CFO for being a good mentor and for helping develop my staff in their work ethic and level of growth.”
Surprising fact: “I have a sweet tooth for twinkies or that my favorite movie is ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’, I still laugh when I think about the movie”.

Miguel Bravo
Senior community development consultant
Arizona Public Service Company
Bravo is responsible for directing community development initiatives statewide to help serve diverse markets for APS. He also collaborates with economic development organizations to attract industry to Arizona. Bravo also serves the boards of Friendly House, Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Latino Center at Morrison Institute, Boys Hope Girls Hope and Jobs for Arizona’s Graduates.
His hope for his professional legacy: “For conducting business with integrity, purpose, passion; and for having a conviction for public service.”
Surprising fact: “I became a US Citizen in 2007. Having grown up in Arizona, this was one of my proudest moments.”

José Cárdenas
Senior vice president and general counsel
Arizona State University
Before joining ASU in 2009, Cárdenas was chairman at Lewis & Roca, where he became the first Hispanic to serve as managing partner of a major law firm in Arizona. A Stanford Law School graduate, Cárdenas has served on many boards and commissions and has received various awards.
His hope for his professional legacy: “As a good lawyer who served his clients and community well with the utmost integrity.”
Surprising fact: Cárdenas was involved with death penalty cases for more than 30 years.

America Corrales-Bortin
Co-founder
America’s Taco Shop
Corrales-Bortin grew up Culiacán in Sinaloa, Mexico, watching her mother prepare the dishes that would become the recipes for success at America’s Taco Shop. Founded in 2008, America’s authentic carne asada and al pastor quickly built a following that has led to rapid expansion and a partnership Kahala, a franchise development company. So far in 2013, America’s has already moved into California, Texas and Maryland.
Her hope for her professional legacy: “As someone who has a passion for the food we serve at America’s Taco Shop.”
Surprising fact: “People would be surprised that I am named after a famous soccer team in Mexico.”

Gonzalo de la Melena Jr.
President and CEO
Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
In addition to leading the Hispanic Chamber, de la Melena Jr. operates the Phoenix Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), the state’s leading advocate representing more than 100,000 minority business enterprises. De la Melena is also the Founder of edmVentures, LLC a small business investment company with holdings in Phoenix airport concessions at Sky Harbor International.
His hope for his professional legacy: “Helping small businesses succeed.”
Surprising fact: “I had the opportunity to do business in more than 30 countries before the age of 30.”

Robert Espiritu
Acquisition marketing
American Express
Espiritu’s diversified professional experience includes working for small business enterprises as well as corporate 100 businesses in the areas of sales, marketing and financial management. He has also been actively involved with various nonprofit organizations; most recently as the former chairman of the board for the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
His hope for his professional legacy: “Innovative and focused leader who delivers with energy and is known for building successful relationships and high performing teams.”
Surprising fact: “As a first generation American, I am passionate about helping aspiring and under-privileged youth achieve their dreams and advocating for Hispanic career advancement, education and scholarships.”

Dr. Maria Harper-Marinick
Executive vice chancellor and provost
Maricopa Community Colleges
Harper-Marinick oversees all areas of academic and student affairs, workforce development, and strategic planning. She serves on several national and local boards including ABEC and AMEPAC, which she chairs.  Originally from the Dominican Republic, Harper-Marinick came to ASU as a Fulbright Scholar.
Her hope for her professional legacy: “Passion for, and unwavering commitment to, public education as the foundation of a democratic society.”
Surprising fact: “The joy I get from driving fast cars.”

Julio Herrera
National Spanish Sales and Retention Director
Cox Communications
Herrera and his team work across markets and cross-functional departments to drive Spanish language sales and grow Cox’s Hispanic markets nationally. He also helped establish LIDER, a leadership program tailored for Hispanic team members looking for advancement opportunities in Phoenix and Southern Arizona.
His hope for his professional legacy: “Growing and improving the Hispanic customer experience and making a difference our communities.”
Surprising fact: “Spanish was my first language and I started my career in sales leadership at 18 ears old.”

Lori Higuera
Director
Fennemore Craig
Higuera defends, provides counsel and trains employers of all sizes. She’s a Southwest Super Lawyer, an employment law expert for the Arizona Republic/Arizona Business Gazette and is a recent recipient of the High-Level Business Spanish Diploma from the Madrid Chamber of Commerce.
Her hope for her professional legacy: “A skilled lawyer who elevated the practice by integrating the diverse perspectives of our community.”
Surprising fact: “I was fired from my first job as a Santa’s helper for being too social!”

Ana María López, MD, MPH, FACP
Associate dean, outreach and multicultural affairs
Professor of medicine (Tenured) and pathology, College of Medicine
Medical director, Arizona Telemedicine Program
University of Arizona
López has a passion for addressing health inequities and human suffering. From clinical research with molecular targets to health services research, her work focuses on optimizing the health of individuals and communities.
Her hope for her professional legacy: “Life is an opportunity to contribute. I hope to contribute, to make a difference.”
Surprising fact: “I love simple pleasures. Witnessing the daily miracle of the sun rising sustains me.”

Paul Luna
President and CEO
Helios Education Foundation
Luna leads Helios Education Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to creating opportunities for individuals in Arizona and Florida to succeed in postsecondary education. He is the former president of Valley of the Sun United Way and has held positions with Pepsi, IBM and the Office of Governor Bruce Babbitt.
His hope for his professional legacy: “That I cared about our community and helped make it better.”
Surprising fact: “I’m seriously considering getting matching tattoos with my kids in the near future.”

Steve Macias
President and CEO
Pivot Manufacturing
Macias is a co-owner of Pivot Manufacturing, a Phoenix machine shop, chairs the Arizona Manufacturers Council, and is on the boards of the Arizona Commerce Authority and the Arizona Hispanic Chamber. He is an active proponent of manufacturing in Arizona and a proud father of three boys.
His hope for his professional legacy: “Contributed in some small way to the sustainment of manufacturing in Arizona.”
Surprising fact: “In high school, I was the school mascot – a Bronco.”

Mario Martinez II
CEO
360 Vantage
Martinez is responsible for the overall vision, strategy and execution of 360 Vantage, a leader in cloud-based sales and marketing technology solutions designed to solve the unique challenges of the mobile workforce in life sciences, healthcare and other industries.
His hope for his professional legacy: “I would most like to be remembered for truly changing the lives of our clients, employees and our community in great and meaningful ways.”
Surprising fact: “I hosted a radio show during my college years.”

Clarence McCallister
CEO
Fortis Networks, Inc.
McAllister was born in Panama and earned his master’s in electrical engineering from ASU. In 2000, he and his wife started Fortis Networks, Inc., a certified 8a and HUBzone government contractor specializing in engineering, construction and technology services.
His hope for his professional legacy: “Building a world-class organization that always exceeds our customers’ expectations.”
Surprising fact: “I did an emergency landing on a City of Mesa street.”

Rodolfo Parga, Jr.
Managing shareholder
Ryley Carlock & Applewhite
In addition to managing a law firm with 120 attorneys, Parga has been to Best Lawyers in America for the last four years. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of Chicanos Por la Causa, a leading non-profit helping advance and create economic and educational opportunities.
His hope for his professional legacy: “I want to be remembered as always trying to do the right thing and having led with integrity.”
Surprising fact: “I was bullied until age 11, which drove me not only to strengthen my body, but my resolve.”

Hector Peñuñuri
Senior planning analyst
SRP
Peñuñuri is an Arizona native and has spent most of the past 15 years in the Customer Services Division at SRP.  He has served on several boards including the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and LISC.  He was raised in the West Valley, and currently resides in Gilbert.
His hope for his professional legacy: “A trusted and valuable team member/leader; a communicator who understands the importance of sharing knowledge to help others.”
Surprising fact: “I’m a jack of all trades – woodworker, photographer, musician, outdoorsman and a decent cook when I put my mind to it.”

Dan Puente
Owner
D.P. Electric
Puente founded D.P. Electric in 1990 out of his garage with one truck. D.P. Electric now has more than 200 employees and generated more than $30 million in revenue in 2012, making it the biggest Hispanic-owned company in Arizona.
His hope for his professional legacy: “A guy that is fair, honest, hard-working and gives back both personally and professionally.”
Surprising fact: “Professionally, that I do not have a college degree and personally, that I am a Bikram Yoga junkie.”

Marie Torres
Founder
MRM Construction Services
Torres is an Arizona native and built her business in the community that she grew up in. With more than 30 years experience in the construction field, she started MRM in 2002 and currently has more than 50 employees. The focus of her company has been in government contracting and has self performed airfield work at Luke AFB, MCAS Yuma and Davis Monthan.
Her hope for her professional legacy: “As being technically competent.”
Surprising fact: “I don’t like to drive and I am happy as a passenger – even in my own car.”

Lisa Urias
President and CEO
Urias Communications
After 15 years in international marketing and communications, Urias founded Urias Communications to address the need for advertising and PR with a uniquely multicultural focus. Now an award-winning advertising, and PR agency, Urias Communications specializes in the multicultural markets of the U.S. Southwest, with concentration on the burgeoning Hispanic market.
Her hope for her professional legacy: “Bridging the divide between corporations and the growing Hispanic community for mutual benefit and respect.”
Surprising fact: “I am a fourth-generation Arizonan whose grandfather was the first Hispanic city councilman.”

Dawn C. Valdivia
Partner, chair of the Labor & Employment Practice Group
Quarles & Brady
Valdivia is the chair of Quarles & Brady’s Labor and Employment Group in Phoenix. She regularly advises clients in all matters of labor and employment law and is skilled in complex litigation matters, including wage and hour class action litigation in Arizona and California.
Her hope for her professional legacy: “A creative problem solver, committed to her clients and to giving back to the community.”
Surprising fact: “I love adventure — sky diving, gliding, scuba diving, helicopters, etc.”

Lorena Valencia
CEO
Reliance Wire
Valencia is the founder and CEO of Reliance Wire Systems, a wire and tubing manufacturing company she founded in 2000. She is also the founder and president of Magin Corporation — an eco-friendly wood pallet alternative company — and the FRDM Foundation.
Her hope for her professional legacy: “Empowering children by building schools and libraries in impoverished countries through my FRDM Foundation.”
Surprising fact: “I put hot peppers on almost everything I eat. The hotter. the better.”

Roberto Yañez
Vice president and GM
Univision Arizona
Yañez is a 27-year broadcast television veteran, who has served 17 of those years with the Univision Television Group (UTG). Yañez has created various opportunities that helped build the station’s relationship with the community: Cadena de Gente Buena, El 34 Esta Aqui and Ya Es Hora.
His hope for his professional legacy: “Someone who used his craft to build bridges between the problem and the solution.”
Surprising fact: “Though Monday through Friday you will never see me without a suit and tie, I am most comfortable in boots, jeans and driving a pick-up truck.”

Ian Kennedy

D-backs announce 2013 promotional schedule

The Arizona Diamondbacks have announced the 2013 promotional schedule, which includes three bobbleheads, a Wade Miley Garden Gnome and more than a dozen additional promotional items throughout the season. Individual tickets for each of these games, including Opening Day on April 1 vs. the St. Louis Cardinals, will go on sale on Mar. 4. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Chase Field Ticket Office, online at dbacks.com or by calling 602.514.8400. Fans can also access exclusive presale opportunities by becoming a D-backs Insider at dbacks.com.

The first of the three bobbleheads is the Aaron Hill #BiCycle Bobblehead that will honor Hill for his two cycles last season (June 8). The other two bobbleheads will feature fan favorites Paul Goldschmidt (Aug. 10) and Miguel Montero (Sept. 14). The Montero bobblehead will be given away on Hispanic Heritage Day.

New this year, the D-backs will host a street festival prior to three games throughout the season (Apr. 1, Apr. 13, May 11, Sept. 14) that will feature food trucks, D-backs inflatables and several activities before fans enter the stadium.

Also on the promotional schedule are several $5 College Nights, School Family Nights, Choir Nights and Senior Days as well as Stitch & Pitch (April 13), four educational field trip days (April 29-May 2) and events for the Girl Scouts (May 11), a Camp Day (June 19), Cheer Night (August 31) and a Band Night (September 28). Three Mystery Ball events are also planned for April 27, June 8 and August 10. The club will host post-game fireworks shows, presented by Gila River Casinos, following 10 Friday night home games.

The D-backs 2013 promotional dates are available at dbacks.com/giveaways, with highlights below:

· 2013 Magnet Schedule, courtesy of Pepsi (First 50,000 fans on April 1 vs. Cardinals)
· APS Green Series (April 12-14 vs. Dodgers)
· Beat LA T-shirt, courtesy of Gila River Casinos (First 20,000 fans on April 13 vs. Dodgers)
· Jackie Robinson Day (April 25 vs. Rockies)
· D-backs Outdoor Recreation Night (April 27 vs. Rockies)
· Wade Miley Garden Gnome, courtesy of Sanderson Ford (First 20,000 fans on April 27 vs. Rockies)
· Faith & Family Night Concert, presented by Grand Canyon University (May 10 vs. Phillies)
· Mother’s Day Tote Bag, courtesy of Pepsi (First 5,000 moms on May 12 vs. Phillies)
· Boy Scout Night Sleepover (May 24 vs. Padres)
· D. Baxter Fan, courtesy of CenturyLink (First 10,000 fans on May 25 vs. Padres)
· D-backs Memorial Day Doubleheader (May 27 vs. Rangers)
D-backs Snapback Cap, courtesy of Budweiser (First 5,000 fans 21 and older at the 12:40 p.m. game on May 27 vs. Rangers)
· Aaron Hill #BiCycle Bobblehead, courtesy of Arizona Sports 620 (First 20,000 fans on June 8 vs. Giants)
· Bark in the Park, presented by Pet Club (June 9 vs. Giants)
· MLB Network Drawstring Bag (First 20,000 fans June 22 vs. Reds)
· D-backs Stars and Stripes T-shirt, courtesy of Ram Trucks (First 15,000 fans on July 5 vs. Rockies)
· D-backs Playing Cards, courtesy of Gila River Casinos (First 5,000 fans 21 and older on July 12 vs. Brewers)
· Native American Recognition Day (July 13 vs. Brewers)
· D-backs Beach Towel, courtesy of Gila River Casinos (First 20,000 fans on July 13 vs. Brewers)
· Back-To-School Backpack, courtesy of Cox Communications (First 5,000 kids on July 14 vs. Brewers)
· D-backs Luchador Mask (First 20,000 fans on July 27 vs. Padres)
· Paul Goldschmidt Bobblehead (First 20,000 fans on August 10 vs. Mets)
· Miguel Montero Growth Chart, courtesy of Arizona Milk Producers (First 5,000 kids on August 11 vs. Mets)
· D-backs Alumni Night (August 31 vs. Giants)
· Labor Day Game (September 2 vs. Blue Jays)
· Faith & Family Night Concert, presented by Grand Canyon University (September 13 vs. Rockies)
· D-backs Hispanic Heritage Day, presented by Budweiser (September 14 vs. Rockies)
· Miguel Montero Bobblehead, courtesy of Subway (First 20,000 fans on September 14 vs. Rockies)
· D-backs Luchador Cape, courtesy of Circle K (First 5,000 kids on September 15 vs. Rockies)
· Bark in the Park, presented by Pet Club (September 15 vs. Rockies)
· Roberto Clemente Day (September 18 vs. Dodgers)
· D-backs Car Show Street Festival (September 29 vs. Nationals)
· 2014 Magnet Schedule (First 20,000 fans on September 30 vs. Nationals)

The D-backs 4-Pack will be available starting March 4 and will allow fans to choose any four games with affordable seating options in all levels at Chase Field. Also on March 4, the D-backs Value Pack will be available for single-game purchase.  For $21, fans will receive a game ticket in the bleachers, a regular size hot dog, a 24 ounce drink, and a special offer from Subway®. For more information on ticket packages, visit www.dbacks.com/tickets.

7 Marketing Tips & Strategies, Entourage Marketing

R&R Partners adds new clients, staff

R&R Partners is leaping into 2013 adding new clients and staff as the agency gets comfortable in its new central Phoenix office space. Just recently, R&R took on Arizona Public Service (APS), IO, the datacenter company, and the Health & Wealth Raffle benefiting Barrow Neurological Institute and St. Joseph’s Hospital.

R&R now occupies the entire 29th floor at 101 N. First Avenue giving agency staff added room for growth. With an expanded client roster and new space have also come multiple new hires with plans to add more creative and account services staff.

New staff members include the following:

Ken Pham, Copywriter
A native of Arizona and a Sun Devil graduate, Ken Pham has worked across a vast range of clients with different desires and budgets. Pham’s ability to bring big ideas have earned him significant industry Emmy and Addy awards. He has developed and built brands for local, regional and national accounts such as NextCare Urgent Care, Phiten U.S.A., McDonald’s, Massage Envy, Peter Piper Pizza, Paradise Bakery & Cafe, Bashas’ and The Phoenix Zoo.
At R&R Partners, he exercises his talents on accounts such as APS, IO Data Centers, Health & Wealth Raffle benefiting Barrow Neurological Institute and St. Joseph’s Hospital, Valley Metro, The Residences at the Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain and Cox Business Services.

Ashley George, Senior Art Director
Ashley George brings a wealth of agency experience to R&R – having worked with top agencies before including High Wide & Handsome in Los Angeles and Young & Rubicam in San Francisco. Her talent has helped shape top brands such as Arbor Mist, Dell, Sunkist, Chevron, and Texaco. At R&R Partners, she works on APS, IO, St. Joseph’s Health & Wealth Raffle and Cox Communications.

Sarah Leidy, Assistant Media Buyer
Sarah Leidy hails from the East Coast where she helped launch an interactive Olympic summer campaign during her time at Neo@Ogilvy in New York City.  At R&R, she assists with negotiations and purchasing of advertising space across all media for R&R clients including St. Joseph’s Health & Wealth Raffle, Valley Metro, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, and The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain.

Beau Cowan, Web Developer
Beau Cowan joined R&R from Yandy.com and was hired to support R&R’s work on the agency’s Boeing International account. His work includes designing and developing new Boeing sites as well as maintaining them for consistency over time.

Matt Porembski, Designer
Matt Porembski developed his talent on interdisciplinary teams at Intel and Motorola.  He also worked as an in-house designer for a Phoenix based law firm. As a part of R&R Partners’ digital team, he creates design options for many of R&R’s web clients.

Stuart Luther, Government and Public Affairs Associate
Stuart Luther began fine-tuning his public affairs expertise while he was a student assistant for the U.S Global Change Research Program in Washington, D.C. and strengthened his research abilities as an intern for the appropriations committee for the Arizona House of Representatives. Blending the two skills together made him perfect for the R&R Partner’s Government and Public Affairs Associate position, where he dives into research to help position R&R’s clients in the public affairs sphere.

Ivanna Garcia, Agency Coordinator
Ivanna Garcia brings a diverse journalism, public relations and community relations background to R&R with experience ranging from work at a boutique advertising agency, work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and work with another national public relations/advertising firm.  At R&R, Garcia works on public relations for the Health & Wealth Raffle, Valley Metro, and Cox Communications accounts.

7 Marketing Tips & Strategies, Entourage Marketing

R&R Partners adds new clients, staff

R&R Partners is leaping into 2013 adding new clients and staff as the agency gets comfortable in its new central Phoenix office space. Just recently, R&R took on Arizona Public Service (APS), IO, the datacenter company, and the Health & Wealth Raffle benefiting Barrow Neurological Institute and St. Joseph’s Hospital.

R&R now occupies the entire 29th floor at 101 N. First Avenue giving agency staff added room for growth. With an expanded client roster and new space have also come multiple new hires with plans to add more creative and account services staff.

New staff members include the following:

Ken Pham, Copywriter
A native of Arizona and a Sun Devil graduate, Ken Pham has worked across a vast range of clients with different desires and budgets. Pham’s ability to bring big ideas have earned him significant industry Emmy and Addy awards. He has developed and built brands for local, regional and national accounts such as NextCare Urgent Care, Phiten U.S.A., McDonald’s, Massage Envy, Peter Piper Pizza, Paradise Bakery & Cafe, Bashas’ and The Phoenix Zoo.
At R&R Partners, he exercises his talents on accounts such as APS, IO Data Centers, Health & Wealth Raffle benefiting Barrow Neurological Institute and St. Joseph’s Hospital, Valley Metro, The Residences at the Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain and Cox Business Services.

Ashley George, Senior Art Director
Ashley George brings a wealth of agency experience to R&R – having worked with top agencies before including High Wide & Handsome in Los Angeles and Young & Rubicam in San Francisco. Her talent has helped shape top brands such as Arbor Mist, Dell, Sunkist, Chevron, and Texaco. At R&R Partners, she works on APS, IO, St. Joseph’s Health & Wealth Raffle and Cox Communications.

Sarah Leidy, Assistant Media Buyer
Sarah Leidy hails from the East Coast where she helped launch an interactive Olympic summer campaign during her time at Neo@Ogilvy in New York City.  At R&R, she assists with negotiations and purchasing of advertising space across all media for R&R clients including St. Joseph’s Health & Wealth Raffle, Valley Metro, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, and The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain.

Beau Cowan, Web Developer
Beau Cowan joined R&R from Yandy.com and was hired to support R&R’s work on the agency’s Boeing International account. His work includes designing and developing new Boeing sites as well as maintaining them for consistency over time.

Matt Porembski, Designer
Matt Porembski developed his talent on interdisciplinary teams at Intel and Motorola.  He also worked as an in-house designer for a Phoenix based law firm. As a part of R&R Partners’ digital team, he creates design options for many of R&R’s web clients.

Stuart Luther, Government and Public Affairs Associate
Stuart Luther began fine-tuning his public affairs expertise while he was a student assistant for the U.S Global Change Research Program in Washington, D.C. and strengthened his research abilities as an intern for the appropriations committee for the Arizona House of Representatives. Blending the two skills together made him perfect for the R&R Partner’s Government and Public Affairs Associate position, where he dives into research to help position R&R’s clients in the public affairs sphere.

Ivanna Garcia, Agency Coordinator
Ivanna Garcia brings a diverse journalism, public relations and community relations background to R&R with experience ranging from work at a boutique advertising agency, work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and work with another national public relations/advertising firm.  At R&R, Garcia works on public relations for the Health & Wealth Raffle, Valley Metro, and Cox Communications accounts.

Brossart Diane final 9314 5-29-12

Valley Forward Exands its horizon

Timing is everything, even when it comes to Mother Nature.

“In 2010, we got an $85,000 grant to look at some federal issues on sustainability,” says Diane Brossart, president and CEO of Valley Forward, which brings business and civic leaders together to improve the environment and livability of Valley communities. “We were asked to target Arizona’s Congressional delegation and get them up to speed in regards to understanding a sustainability agenda for Arizona and what that meant.”

What grew from that seed was an initiative that had actually been germinating for more than a decade, Brossart says: taking the successful Marocopa County-centric Valley Forward and giving is a statewide focus. In August, Valley Forward’s board voted unanimously to to move forward with a business plan that will transition Valley Forward into Arizona Forward in January.

Brossart says the state is facing some serious issues related to the environment and the livability and vitality of Arizona’s cities and towns will be impacted by upcoming decisions related to:
* Land use planning and open space,
* A balanced multi-modal transportation system,
* Improving and maintaining healthy air quality,
* Solar and renewable energy technology,
*  Managing our water resources, and
* Protecting wilderness, parks, national monuments and other natural areas for Arizona’s tourism economy.

“As Arizona and the country recover from the Great Recession, a statewide dialogue is more important than ever,” says William F. Allison, a shareholder at Gallagher & Kennedy. “The issues impacting us – water, energy, transportation, land use – involve the entire state rather than only the Valley. Arizona Forward will provide a forum to think outside the box and beyond the Valley.”

To get Arizona Forward to have its greatest statewide impact, Brossart and her staff connected with nine companies that had influence on communities along the Sun Corridor — the stretch of freeway that connects Tucson, Phoenix, Prescott and Flagstaff — to become charter members of Arizona Forward.

“The leaders of those companies have become our tour guides as we go into Pima County and Northern Arizona,” Brossart says. She points to Kurt Wadlington, employee-owner of Sundt Construction in Tucson, for opening doors for Arizona Forward to spread its wings into Southern Arizona.

“Southern Arizona already has a very strong environmental focus, but struggles with areas that are dependent on statewide engagement from both a funding and advocacy perspective,” Wadlington says. “(Valley Forward’s) shift (to a statewide focus) will provide Southern Arizona with added resources to coordinate its future growth in the larger context of the Sun Corridor.”

Experts agree that now is the perfect time for Valley Forward to shift to a statewide focus statewide because Arizona is at a turning point, economically and environmentally.

“There are major issues that affect the state like transportation; managing resources; and protecting the wilderness, parks, and national monuments,” says Alfie Gallegos, area sales manager for Republic Services. “These are not just environmental issues, but are issues that have an effect on Arizona’s economy statewide. I think Arizona is ready to start having more positive statewide conversations about finding ways to grow our economy in a manner that can be sustained and is environmentally friendly.”

Brossart says that while Arizona has had countless groups that have focused on making their communities better, Arizona Forward will be looking to help educate legislators become the glue that brings those regional organizations together in a spirit of cooperation and unity.

“So much of our goal is to drive a political agenda to the middle and bring folks on both sides of the aisle together,” Brossart says. “The issues that we focus on are sustainability and environmental. Everybody needs clean air, clean water, open space and parks. Those are the things that make a community viable, healthy and liveable. We all want that. Those aren’t political issues. But they do fall into a political arena that sometimes clouds the issues. But if we can be a reasoning voice of balance like we have been successfully in Maricopa County, if we can bring that statewide, it will be really good for Arizona — economically and environmentally.”

Valley Forward members expect the transition to Arizona Forward to foster additional collaboration and conversation on statewide issues, bring additional viewpoints on key issues and allow for a more global conversation.

“My hope is that we can, over time, have a collective vision that regardless of our own regional filters, we’re all in this together and need to find ways to move forward as one sustainable, economically successful state,” says Iain Hamp, community affairs representative, Wells Fargo Team Member Philanthropy Group.

Brossart says one of the biggest messages Arizona Forward will be trying to communicate is that making sound decisions about issues surrounding sustainability and the environment are good for business.

“If we make a case that shows the economic impact of parks and open space on the tourism industry, the business community will take notice and they are uniquely poised to deliver of that message and be heard,” Brossart says. “Parks groupies are great and they are important. But when the business community gets involved, people listen.”

Where Arizona Forward could have its biggest economic impact is on growth industries that rely on the state’s amazing natural resources.

“It’s an exciting time to be a part of solar energy, as the clean, renewable energy source is experiencing massive growth and helping the state and country achieve greater energy independence,” says Patricia Browne, director of marketing and communications for SOLON Corporation in Tucson. “And Arizona has been at the center of this growth. This has been made possible not only by the companies developing the solutions, but by the state and local officials, Arizona-based businesses and individual residents who recognize the importance that solar plays in a number of ways such as a cleaner environment, economic development, and energy price stability. However, there are still challenges in making the adoption viable on a large scale, and Arizona Forward helps bring together the right players to help make this happen on a state level.”

Richard Mayol, communications and government relations director for Grand Canyon Trust in Flagstaff, says Arizona Forward will give members in northern Arizona the opportunity to not only have a voice in discussions that affect the state today, but in decisions that impact what Arizona will be like 20 years from now.

“We hope it will help create an economy that provides the opportunity for prosperity without sacrificing the environment,” he says, “and makes northern Arizona an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.”

And that is what Arizona Forward’s mission is all about: bringing business and civic leaders together in order to convene thoughtful public dialogue on statewide issues and to improve the environment and sustainability of Arizona.

“All areas of the state will benefit, from urban to rural and suburban areas in between due to a coordinated and planned strategy for such essential elements as affordable energy, water, transportation, affordable housing, and a wide band of employment opportunities,” says Janice Cervelli, dean of the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of Arizona. “All geographic, economic, and environmental sectors of the state will increasingly become part of a larger, interdependent, connected system.”

GOALS OF ARIZONA FORWARD

* Establish cooperative relationships with like-minded Arizona conservation organizations and facilitate collaboration on sustainability initiatives.
* Bring business and civic leaders together to convene thoughtful public dialogue on regional issues and to improve the environment and sustainability of Arizona.
* Increase awareness of and interest in environmental issues initially in the Sun Corridor and then beyond, statewide, building on an agenda of land use and open space planning, transportation, air quality, water, and energy.
* Support efforts to promote the Sun Corridor as an economic development area incorporating sustainability and smart growth principles.
* Serve as a technical resource on environmental issues through Arizona Forward’s and Valley Forward’s diverse membership of large corporations, small businesses, municipal governments, state agencies, educational institutions and nonprofit organizations.

ARIZONA FORWARD CHARTER MEMBERS
Arizona Community Foundation
First Solar
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold
National Bank of Arizona
SOLON Corporation
Sundt Construction
The Nature Conservancy
Total Transit
Wells Fargo

FOUNDING MEMBERS: Access Geographic, LLC; Adolfson & Peterson Construction Company; APS; Arizona Conservation Partnership; Arizona Department of Transportation; Arizona Heritage Alliance; Arizona Investment Council; Arizona State Parks Foundation; Arizona State University, Global Institute of Sustainability; Aubudon Arizona; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona; Breckenridge Group Architects/Planners; Caliber Group; City of Tucson; Environmental Fund of Arizona; Fennemore Craig; Gabor Lorant Architects; Gammage & Burnham; Godec Randall & Associates; Grand Canyon Trust; Guided Therapy Systems; Haley & Aldrich; Intellectual Energy, LLC; John Douglas Architects; Jones Studio; Kinney Construction Services, Inc.; Lewis and Roca LLP; Logan Halperin Landscape Architecture; Pima County; RSP Architects; Southwest Gas Corporation; SRP; University of Phoenix; TEP / UNS Energy Corp.; The Greenleaf Group

recycling

APS, SRP Warn Customers of Fraud Attempts

APS and SRP want customers to stay safe this holiday season and be aware of potential fraud attempts. Both companies have received reports of individuals falsely claiming to represent APS or SRP to collect payment for electric service.

Several customers in the Phoenix metropolitan area have received telephone call from an individual who claims to represent the utility providers or makes a generic reference to the “electric or power company.”

The fraudulent caller claims the customer has an overdue bill and service will be disconnected if payment isn’t made immediately. The scam artist then asks the customer to take one of three actions:

  • Make the payment over the phone via credit card
  • Visit a payment kiosk where the caller will provide an account number to use for payment
  • Wire the money to an account via Western Union.

As a reminder, APS or SRP customer service representatives never call customers to ask for credit card numbers or personal information or to remind them of a delinquent balance. Customers are notified of delinquent balances and shut-off dates via the APS/SRP bill. Some customers also may receive text messaging, an automated dialer message and/or a door hanger.

Customers should always use their personal APS or SRP account number when using the various payment options available to them. Payments are not accepted by field personnel.
Utility representatives may not always wear uniforms with the APS or SRP logo.  However, all permanent employees are required to carry identification. On occasion, the companies use contract workers who are required to carry a letter of introduction from APS or SRP. If there ever is a question about the validity of a person claiming to be an APS or SRP representative, customers are urged to ask for an employee identification number and to call the APS Customer Care Center at (602) 371-7171 or the SRP Customer Services at 602-236-8888 to verify employee status.

If a person is misrepresenting himself/herself as a utility employee, customers should immediately call local law enforcement and the FTC at 1-877-382-4357, using reference number 401625543, if they are a victim of this fraudulent activity or receive a similar call from a scam artist.

The fake calls are being made to both English- and Spanish-speaking customers.  SRP has reported the activity to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

APS, Arizona’s largest and longest-serving electric utility, serves more than 1.1 million customers in 11 of the state’s 15 counties. With headquarters in Phoenix, APS is the largest subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corporation (NYSE:PNW).

SRP is the largest provider of electricity to the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving more than 950,000 customers in Maricopa and Pinal counties. SRP is also the largest supplier of raw water in the great Phoenix metropolitan area.

legends

Legends district partners with Southwestern Eye Center

The Legends Entertainment District, a first-of-its-kind joint venture between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Phoenix Suns, announced a new partnership with Southwestern Eye Center that features the District’s first static super graphic with a 3-D embellishment. The announcement was made by Legends Entertainment District General Manager Judd Norris.

“The Legends Entertainment District continues to break the mold of traditional ‘billboard’ advertising by bringing to life its first three-dimensional concept,” said Norris. “Southwestern Eye Centers challenged us to do something unique and memorable. Taking that into account, we were able to bring their already recognizable glasses campaign to life on a 36’ x 42’ super graphic. The glasses are so unique that the creator of the image, BlueMedia, has submitted the design into several marketing concept competitions.”

The first-of-its-kind graphic is located on the Phoenix Convention Center Garage at the corner of 5th Street and Jefferson, across from Chase Field. It is one of 36 static signs in the District that also features four LED signs, six window graphics and five custom signs.

“As a locally based company celebrating 30 years in business, we are excited to be part of something that hasn’t been done before,” said Southwestern Eye Center Vice President and General Counsel Shane Armstrong. “We value the opportunity to work with Legends on this advanced project and to be part of the revitalization efforts downtown.”

Celebrating 30 years in business this year, Southwestern Eye Center, founded in 1982, is dedicated to providing the best possible care for patients seeking or in need of LASIK, cataract surgery, retinal surgery, cosmetic surgery or glaucoma evaluations and treatment throughout the Metro Phoenix area and rural communities of Arizona. With several accomplished specialists in the areas of LASIK, cataracts, retina, glaucoma and cosmetics, Southwestern Eye Center is able to provide patients in Arizona and New Mexico with improved vision by using some of the most advanced and sophisticated techniques and technologies available today. There are 23 Southwestern Eye Center locations in Arizona and three in New Mexico. For more information, visit www.sweye.com.

Southwestern Eye Center joins a growing list of partners for the Legends Entertainment District, including APS, Anheuser-Busch, Chevrolet, Fox Sports Arizona, Fry’s Food Stores, Gila River Casinos, AZ Family, MillerCoors, AZ Pain Centers, Cox Communications, Dodge and the Arizona Rattlers, among others.

The Legends Entertainment District offers customized, larger than life out of home opportunities that run 18 hours a day, 365 days a year. The project was designed to encompass landmark downtown facilities, extending from 1st Avenue to 7th Street and Washington to Jackson Street.

In addition to the corporate partnership signage, the Legends Entertainment District provides digital informational programming in the form of LED news tickers and other relevant content that can change on a moment’s notice.

Nearly two billion individual LED lights are used to illuminate the Legends Entertainment District, which includes 13 screens for a total of 6,819 square feet of LED and over 50,000 square feet of static signage. The fiber optic cable laid end to end is 228 miles in length, which is equal to the distance driving from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon. The Legends Entertainment District includes nearly 100,000 pounds (50 tons) of steel and more than 140,000 feet of electrical wire.

Downtown Phoenix attracts more than eight million visitors annually at over 700 events, while 57,000 office workers are based out of the area. For more information about the Legends Entertainment District, visit www.legendsentertainmentdistrict.com.

minorities

Summit spotlights impact of minority-owned companies

Fifteen corporations and nonprofits that do tens of millions in contracts with minority-owned companies in Arizona, and the release of a detailed new, post-recession survey of minority-owned business will be among the highlights of the 2012 Minority Business Enterprise Summit in downtown Phoenix Friday.

The 2012 Minority Business Enterprise Summit was organized by the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Phoenix MBDA Business Center . The event takes place Nov. 16, 2012, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., at Renaissance Hotel Downtown, 50 East Adams Street in Phoenix.

“The summit speaks to the growing influence of minority-owned businesses in Arizona and the historic demographic shift that’s helping reshape the economy of our state and our nation,” said Gonzalo de la Melena, president and CEO of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which operates the federally-funded Phoenix MBDA Business Center.

MBE summit highlights include:

* The release of the 2012 Minority Business Enterprise Report (the first-of-its-kind since 2007) regarding the state of minority-owned businesses in Arizona.
* Inaugural inductions into the Arizona Million Dollar Circle of Excellence: Leading the Way in Supplier Diversity recognizing corporations and non-profits that do at least $1 million in business with minority- and women-owned companies in Arizona.
* The annual presentation of the Minority Enterprise Development Awards.

The 2012 MBE Report will be released during a Friday morning presentation starting at 10 a.m. The report was conducted by Westgroup Research and designed to serve as a resource for businesses, organizations, educators, government agencies and individuals who want to help Arizona MBEs succeed.

The report’s findings include:
* About 78% of the MBEs in Arizona have less than 10 employees.
* Nearly one-quarter of MBEs did not feel they were treated with respect when applying for a loan.
* Among survey participants, the median gross revenue in 2011 was $215,000 with a median staff size of four employees.
* Minority business owners are optimistic about the future — 63% feel their financial situation will improve in the next 12 months.

During the Summit’s Friday luncheon, 15 companies and governmental organizations will be inducted in the Arizona Million Dollar Circle of Excellence. AZHCC President De la Melena said the this initiative breaks new ground by recognizing major corporations and governmental entities that directly spend at least $1 million purchasing goods or services from minority-owned and women-owned businesses in Arizona. Several of the companies individually spend tens of millions annually contracting with minority- and women-owned firms. The project also is intended to promote and share best practices regarding supply-chain diversity, said de la Melena.

The AZ Million Dollar Circle of Excellence is co-chaired by Donald E. Brandt, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Arizona Public Service, and Lorena Valencia, President/CEO, Reliance Wire & Cable and a member of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce board of directors. Arizona Public Service is a major purchaser of good and services from minority- and women-owned companies and the presenting sponsor for the summit and the 2012 MBE Report.

“Our state is rapidly becoming a national leader for diverse business supplier programs,” said APS’s Brandt, whose company has spent about $1.5 billion with women- and minority-owned businesses since 1992. “All of Arizona benefits from the jobs that are created and the resulting competition that leads to better goods and services. For our state to achieve its full economic potential, Arizona businesses must continue to seek out qualified diverse suppliers, hire them and put them in a position to succeed.”

De la Melena added, “The induction of the inaugural members of Arizona Million Dollar Circle of Excellence is our way of recognizing companies that are doing the right thing by ensuring they have diverse supply chain.”

The MBE Summit luncheon will also honor the winners of the annual Minority Enterprise Development Week Awards which recognize the achievements of minority-owned companies in the Southwest.

MINORITY CONSTRUCTION FIRM OF THE YEAR, Fortis Networks, Inc., Reyna & Clarence McAllister

MINORITY TECHNOLOGY FIRM OF THE YEAR, 360 Vantage, Mario Martinez

MINORITY FIRM OF THE YEAR, Technology Integration Group, Ying McGuire

ACCESS TO CAPITAL AWARD, Prestamos CDFI LLC

Untitled

AWEE presents 2012 Faces of Success

A formerly homeless veteran who lost his hearing from an explosion in Vietnam, an ex-offender who chose drugs over her children and today counsels individuals in similar circumstances, and a Baltimore transplant who had to rely on the financial support of family when she couldn’t find a fulltime job despite a steady work history will tell their turnaround stories and be honored at the 18th annual Faces of Success Luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 15 at The Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa.

The annual fund-raising luncheon supports Arizona Women’s Education & Employment (AWEE), a workforce development organization using a diverse range of evidence-based training and support services to advance Arizona’s workforce and change the lives of women, men, young adults and special populations through the dignity of work.

Also at the luncheon, Michelle King Robson, who overcame life-threatening health issues to start the widely praised social health website EmpowHER.com for women will receive the Jeanne Lind Herberger Award.

More than 700 people are expected at the luncheon, which is presented by Bank of America.  Registration and reception begin at 11 a.m.   The highly entertaining, rapid-fire program of giveaways, raffles and remarkably moving stories of success will be co-hosted by television personality Tara Hitchcock and Alfredo J. Molina of Molina Fine Jewelers.  Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton will make brief congratulatory remarks.

Molina also has donated a stunning pair of 18-karat white gold earrings with .39 carats of brilliant diamonds surrounding black onyx for a raffle.  The earrings are valued at $4,990.  Raffle tickets are $25 each or 6 for $100 and can be purchased at the event or online at www.awee.org.

Individual tickets for the Faces of Success Luncheon are $100 each and also can be purchased online or the day of the event.  Sponsorships are still available.

The highlight of the annual luncheon comes midway through the program when the three Faces of Success take the audience through their personal journeys from rock bottom to steady employment and self sufficiency thanks to AWEE programs, services and support.

The 2012 Faces of Success are:

• Craig Leighton, a U.S. Marine Corp photographer whose life fell apart after returning from Vietnam in 1974 deaf and angry.  Leighton eventually found himself battling alcohol and drug addiction, homeless and in jail.  “I needed help,” he said.  “Coming out of prison, you have a choice:  Go back to your old behavior or start over.  AWEE is what saved my life.”

• Vicki Rainey, the mother of two children who grew up in Phoenix living a “wonderful childhood” until the family moved to a new neighborhood.  That’s when she started making a series of bad choices with alcohol, drugs and criminal behavior and wound up homeless and in and out of prison.  Prison let her come out of the meth-induced fog she had lived in for months when she chose the drug over her kids.  She learned about AWEE in prison workshops and classes, rebuilt her self-esteem and her life and is now the marketing manager at Recovery Opportunity Center.  “The simple fact is, I wouldn’t be where I am today without AWEE.”

• Tanya Smith moved to Phoenix from Baltimore after her mother died.  Smith wanted warmth and sunshine.  Unfortunately, she couldn’t find permanent work and ran out of money between assignments through a temporary agency, needing help from family members.  Surgery complicated matters.   After getting on AHCCCS, she was referred to AWEE where resume writing and interview training keyed her turnaround.  Today, she’s working fulltime in the Home Modification Division of the Arizona Department of Economic Security.

Jeanne Lind Herberger honoree Robson combines a successful track record as a businesswoman and entrepreneur with nearly two decades of civic and community leadership to lead one of the fastest-growing social health companies on the Web.  She started EmpowHER following her own personal struggle with a debilitating health issue and the challenges she experienced in finding the health resources she needed.  “I thought ‘If this happened to me, what is happening to women all over the world?’  At that moment, I decided I would dedicate my life to making sure no other woman would suffer as I had by creating the resources I wish I had when I was sick.”

Kathey Wagner, CEO, B-On The Obvious and Nicole Spracale, Senior Vice President, Jobing, are co-chairs of the 2012 Faces of Success Luncheon.  Bank of America is the Presenting Sponsor with additional support from: The Herberger Foundation, Bruce T. Halle Familiy Foundation, APS, B-On The Obvious, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Discover Financial Services, Jobing, EmpowHER.com, First Solar, Molina Fine Jewelers, SRP, State Farm, Lewis & Roca, MidFirst Bank, Wells Fargo, Avnet, Comerica Bank and University of Phoenix.

For sponsorship information, contact Chief Development Officer Jamie Craig Dove at jamiecraigdove@awee.org or by calling (602) 223-4333.  For ticket information, visit www.awee.org.

electricity

SRP, APS Sending Crews to New York

Salt River Project and Arizona Public Service are sending a combined 21 line crews and support staff to New York to assist the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) in restoring power in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

SRP is sending 62 employees (including 11 four-person line crews and 12 substation electricians) equipped with line trucks, hole diggers and wire pulling equipment. APS, meanwhile, will send 36 employees (including 10 three-person line crews) equipped with bucket trucks and boom trucks. The two organizations’ contingent also includes crew support and safety personnel.

The trucks – and a limited number of personnel from the two utilities – are scheduled to depart Friday sometime after 6 a.m. via military air transport from the Arizona Air National Guard, located at 3200 E. Old Tower Road Phoenix, AZ 85034. The remaining SRP and APS employees are scheduled to depart from Williams Gateway Airport in Mesa at approximately noon Friday.

Millions of East Coast residents have been without power since the storm hit on Monday.  LIPA alone reported more than 1 million customers without power at the height of the storm.  Many customers are expected to be without electricity for as long as 10 days and perhaps longer.

“Utilities in the United States have a long history of working together when needed,” said Vince Featherly, SRP’s senior director of Distribution Design, Construction & Maintenance.  “We realize how difficult the situation is there for the utilities and their customers, and we’re happy to help in any way we can.”

“A safe, reliable supply of electricity is vital to any community, and we are prepared to help Long Island customers get back to their regular lifestyle,” said Daniel Froetscher, APS Vice President of Energy Delivery. “Our thoughts are with those whose lives have been impacted by Hurricane Sandy.”

It is anticipated that crews will stay in the area for as long as two weeks, the two utilities said.

SRP is the largest provider of power to the greater Phoenix area, serving more than 950,000 electric customers.

APS, Arizona’s largest and longest-serving electricity utility, serves more than 1.1 million customers in 11 of the state’s 15 counties. With headquarters in Phoenix, APS is the principal subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp.

APS - Lightbulbs

New APS Arizona Sun Project Underway

Arizona Public Service (APS) and McCarthy Building Cos. have started the permitting process for a new solar photovoltaic facility – the Hyder II Solar Power Plant – located in Hyder.

APS selected McCarthy to engineer, procure the materials and construct the 14-megawatt (MW) facility.

“Hyder II is the sixth AZ Sun Project for APS,” said Barbara Lockwood, APS General Manager of Energy Innovation. “Through the AZ Sun Program, we are adding 200 MW of solar photovoltaic power plants across the state by 2015. We expect that these plants will generate clean energy for at least the next 30 years.”

The AZ Sun Program was approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission and enables APS to invest in the development of up to 200 MW of solar photovoltaic plants across Arizona. APS will finance and own the projects, which are being designed and constructed by third-party solar developers, contractors and equipment providers.

“Hyder II will be the third solar project we have worked on for APS, and we couldn’t be more pleased to work with them again,” said Dennis Tucker, Executive Vice President of McCarthy Building Cos. “Our system engineering and construction expertise will help APS harness the power of the sun and turn it into clean, renewable energy. Plus, the project will bring 150 local jobs to Arizona.”

Construction on Hyder II is expected to begin in April. Located on 240 acres, the project will include more than 71,000 single-axis tracker PV panels that will generate enough solar energy to power more than 3,500 Arizona homes. The single-axis tracker design enables the solar panels to follow the sun across the sky. Commercial operation is expected to take place in late 2013.

The five-year AZ Sun program will create more than 2,000 Arizona construction jobs. With Hyder II, the program has 68 MW under development (Hyder II, 19 MW in Chino Valley, and 35 MW in Yuma). The program already has placed 50 MW online, two 17-MW plants in Gila Bend and a 16-MW plant in Hyder. Hyder II will sit adjacent to the existing Hyder plant.

Earlier this summer, APS issued a request for proposal for an additional 32 MW to be located in Gila Bend.

solar

APS takes proposals for solar facility

Arizona’s largest utility company is taking proposals from solar developers and installers for a 32-megawatt facility in Gila Bend.

Arizona Public Service Co. says it will accept bids starting Aug. 22 and is encouraging developers to participate in an upcoming webinar.

The company has been investing in the development of 200 megawatts of solar photovoltaic plants statewide. The goal is to have eight solar facilities operating by the end of 2015 under the AZ Sun Program, creating more than 2,000 construction jobs.

The 32-megawatt facility in Gila Bend will provide enough electricity to power 8,000 Arizona homes.

summer energy demand

APS Prepared To Meet Summer Energy Demand

As summer energy demand increases, APS reminds its customers it is well positioned to meet their energy needs over the next three months.

This message is the key theme of a three-minute APS-produced video that can be viewed on YouTube: youtube.com/arizonapublicservice. The video features interviews with company officials about this summer’s peak demand forecast, the resources available to serve that demand, a summary of APS’s system improvements, and the steps the company takes to prepare for wildfires and other emergencies.

“One of our most important jobs each year is to make sure the APS system is ready when the summer heat arrives,” said Daniel Froetscher, APS Vice President of Energy Delivery. “We invest in the electricity grid, secure an ample supply of power for even the hottest days, and prepare in advance for storms, wildfires and other events that can cause power outages. When outages do occur, our top priority is to get the lights back on quickly and safely, while communicating regularly with our customers about our efforts to restore the power.”

In preparation for meeting the needs of its customers this summer, APS in 2011 invested about $250 million in system improvements. This included more than 40 miles of new and rebuilt power lines and the construction of seven new substations throughout the company’s service territory.

This summer, APS anticipates a peak of 7,067 megawatts (MW), compared with the 2011 summer peak of 7,087 MW, which occurred on Aug. 24, during the hottest monsoon season ever recorded in the Valley. Between its existing generation, and long- and short-term contracts, APS has 8,696 MW of resources available to help meet summer demand.

The all-time APS system peak of 7,236 MW was set on July 21, 2006. (The summer peak – the 15-minute period when APS customers require the most energy – typically occurs in July or August between 5 and 6 p.m.)

APS successfully met peak demand in 2011 while providing its 1.1 million customers with record high levels of reliability. For the year, the typical APS customer experienced 0.79 power outages compared to a national industry median of 1.12 interruptions. Meanwhile, the typical APS customer experienced 69 minutes of interrupted service in 2011, compared with an industry median of 114 minutes. Both marks are APS records and fall within or near the top quartile of the industry.

In the event of large-scale customer outages, the company utilizes its Twitter outage feed, @APSOutageCenter, to provide real-time updates to its customers and other key audiences.

APS, Arizona’s largest and longest-serving electricity utility, serves more than 1.1 million customers in 11 of the state’s 15 counties. With headquarters in Phoenix, APS is the principal subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp. (NYSE: PNW)

For more information on APS’s ability to meet the summer energy demand, visit APS’s website at aps.com.

aps - recognized business partners

APS Recognizes Outstanding Business Partners

Providing safe, reliable and affordable electricity to 1.1 million customers across more than 34,000 square miles takes considerable resources. APS cannot do it alone. It requires business partners who can supply equipment, deliver and produce materials and share expertise across a variety of industries.

In 2011, APS spent $1.7 billion with more than 7,000 different business partners. Today, APS is recognizing six suppliers for going above and beyond what is expected as a business partner. Their actions were instrumental in helping APS meet the energy needs of customers.

APS’s 2012 Suppliers of the Year are Rohrer Corporation; Southwest Ground Control LLC; URS Corporation; Levi, Ray and Shoup Inc.; Konecranes Nuclear Equipment & Services LLC and General Cable.

“Through their actions, these companies have demonstrated a dedication to customer service and a commitment to providing additional value to their relationship with APS,” said Barbara Gomez, APS Vice President of Supply Chain Management. “We would like to see our other business partners emulate the actions taken by our six award winners. Our customers directly benefit from the great relationships we have with these suppliers and the value they provide.”

Companies were nominated for the award by APS employees. Along with providing outstanding customer service, nominees were evaluated on their support of APS’s values including showing a commitment to sustainability; being actively involved in the community; and focusing on health, safety and environmental concerns.

One company was selected for each of the supply chain categories: Corporate Services, Energy Delivery and Facilities Services, Generation Services, Information Technology, Major Equipment and Materials.

Rohrer Corporation (Corporate Services) is a print, marketing and communications technology company. When APS’s annual customer account summary mailing – an important tool to help customers manage their monthly energy bills – fell behind schedule, Rohrer stepped up. They added extra work hours, including weekends, to help APS get all 800,000 summaries printed accurately and mailed on time.

Southwest Ground Control LLC (Energy Delivery and Facility Services), a vegetation management company, helps APS reduce the risk of forest fires in Arizona by removing vegetation around power lines and poles and in substations. Several tribal governments made a special effort to contact APS to praise Southwest Ground Control for its safe, professional and respectful approach to working on sensitive tribal lands.

URS Corporation (Generation Services) is an engineering and construction company. URS’s efforts at the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, the Four Corners Power Plant and the Cholla Power Plant exhibited many of the values APS seeks in a business partner. For example, despite putting in 32,000 man-hours and meeting challenging deadlines, URS completed the design and engineering work on several water impoundments at Palo Verde without injury or damage to any individual or property.

Levi, Ray and Shoup Inc. (Information Technology) is an information technology solutions provider. The company helped APS achieve significant cost savings by passing on favorable pricing for software and hardware. While doing so, they were able to lessen the time it takes to prepare for the purchase, reducing it from 60 days to less than 14 days.

Konecranes Nuclear Equipment & Services LLC (Major Equipment) designs, installs and services a full range of nuclear lifting equipment. The company used timely and innovative solutions to design, engineer, purchase materials and safely replace a polar crane trolley at the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station. The work was done on schedule and on budget despite short notice and a small time window to complete the job.

General Cable (Materials) is a manufacturer and distributor of wire cable. APS continued to build and repair critical infrastructure in a timely manner in part because General Cable not only maintained appropriate inventory levels of contracted products throughout the year, but was also able to provide additional non-contracted materials when other manufacturers could not meet supply needs.

APS, Arizona’s largest and longest-serving electricity utility, serves more than 1.1 million customers in 11 of the state’s 15 counties. With headquarters in Phoenix, APS is the principal subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp.

For more information on APS, visit APS’ website at aps.com.

energy innovation aps

APS Recognized For Energy Innovation

Arizona Public Service Company ( APS ) has been recognized as one of the top 10 electric utilities in North America for energy innovation according to GreenTech Media and GTM Research, a leading source for clean energy news, analysis and trade events.

The award – titled “The Networked Grid: Top Ten Utility Smart Grid Deployments in North America” – was based on nominations from utilities and vendors and judged by GTM Research analysts.

“Technology is changing everything, including the electricity grid. Our challenge is to make sure APS is investing in technologies that provide value for our customers, make financial sense and are here for the long run. This award is an indication that we are on the right track,” said APS Director of Energy Innovation Barbara Lockwood.

Among its energy innovation projects, APS recently announced the testing of an energy storage system in Flagstaff, Arizona. The system is the size of a shipping container and can generate the equivalent power output of 1,200 hybrid cars. APS is testing several uses in an electrical distribution substation, where it may one day help to dispatch power temporarily during outages. Eventually, the system will support a solar power plant and help to get more renewable energy generation onto the grid.

Flagstaff is home to a number of APS energy innovation pilots including the Community Power Project, which is testing the effects of a high concentration of solar energy in a single distribution area. The study will enable APS to optimize the grid for a future where large percentages of customers in a neighborhood could have solar panels.

APS also is engaged in a self-healing/self-isolating grid pilot and a distribution fault anticipation pilot in Flagstaff. The latter two technologies help predict and manage system faults, resulting in reduced power outages and quicker repair times.

Later this year, a home energy information pilot will test customer benefits of in-home energy displays, programmable thermostats and residential demand response programs.

Earlier this year, APS energy innovation programs were ranked fourth nationally by Intelligent Utility magazine and IDC Energy Insights.

APS, Arizona’s largest and longest-serving electricity utility, serves more than 1.1 million customers in 11 of the state’s 15 counties. With headquarters in Phoenix, APS is the principal subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp.

For more information on APS and their project in Flagstaff, visit APS’ website at aps.com.

solar

APS Ranked As One Of Nation’s Top Solar Companies

Arizona Public Service Company’s efforts to increase the adoption of renewable energy like solar continue to earn national recognition. APS was ranked third in the Annual Megawatts category and fourth in the Annual Watts Per Customer Category – both rankings the highest ever for the company – in the 2011 Utility Solar Rankings announced on April 17 by the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA).

With approximately 145 megawatts of solar energy added to its system in 2011, APS beat out more than 240 other utilities for the third place ranking.

“Last year was a banner year for renewable energy development at APS, we saw more customers install solar than in any prior year, and we brought 45 megawatts of APS-owned solar online through our AZ Sun Program,” said Pat Dinkel, APS Vice President of Power Marketing, Resource Planning and Acquisition. “Renewable energy is good for our customers because it allows APS to invest in building a long-term diverse portfolio that takes into account affordability, dependability and sustainability.”

APS’s current renewable portfolio contains more than 900 megawatts of renewable energy, including projects online or under development. When these resources are placed into service, they will provide enough clean, renewable electricity to power 225,000 Arizona homes.

“We congratulate APS for being a solar power leader in the electric utility sector,” said Julia Hamm, SEPA President and Chief Executive Officer. “APS successfully adapted its business models and operations to allow for a significant amount of solar energy to be integrated into the grid last year, delivering the many benefits of clean solar energy to its customers. The impressive gains solar energy made in the U.S. in 2011 can be largely attributed to APS’s leadership.”

The Top 10 solar utilities in the category of Annual Megawatts are:

1. Pacific Gas and Electric (CA)

2. Public Service Electric & Gas Co. (NJ)

3. Arizona Public Service (AZ)

4. Southern California Edison (CA)

5. Atlantic City Electric (NJ)

6. Jersey Central Power & Light (NJ)

7. Sacramento Municipal Utility District (CA)

8. Xcel Energy – CO (CO)

9. Long Island Power Authority (NY)

10. Xcel Energy – NM (NM)

Altogether, the Top 10 utilities reported adding more than 1,000 megawatts of solar electricity capacity in 2011. Overall, more than 240 utilities surveyed reported nearly 1,500 megawatts of new solar, equivalent to about six natural gas power plants.

The full Top 10 report containing additional details about the total solar capacity of U.S. utilities, rankings by regions, geographical diversity and other utility solar trends will be available in late May at SEPATop10.org.

SEPA is an educational non-profit dedicated to helping utilities integrate solar power into their energy portfolios. With more than 1,000 utility and solar industry members, SEPA provides unbiased utility solar market intelligence, up-to-date information about technologies and business models, and peer-to-peer interaction. From hosting national events to one-on-one counseling, SEPA helps utilities make smart solar decisions.

APS, Arizona’s largest and longest-serving electricity utility, serves more than 1.1 million customers in 11 of the state’s 15 counties. With headquarters in Phoenix, APS is the principal subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp.

For more information on APS, visit APS’ website at aps.com.

aps

APS Prepared To Meet Summer Demand

APS is well positioned to meet the energy needs of its customers this summer, company officials told the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) today.

This message was part of APS’s annual summer preparedness briefing to the ACC.  The presentation included this summer’s peak demand forecast, an inventory of available resources to serve that demand, a summary of APS’s system improvements, and the steps the company has taken to prepare for wildfires and other emergencies.

“One of our most important jobs each year is to make sure the APS system is ready when the summer heat arrives,” said Daniel Froetscher, APS Vice President of Energy Delivery. “We invest in the electricity grid, secure an ample supply of power for even the hottest days, and prepare in advance for storms, wildfires and other events that can cause power outages. When outages do occur, our top priority is to get the lights back on quickly and safely, while communicating regularly with our customers about our efforts to restore the power.”

In preparation for meeting the needs of its customers this summer, APS in 2011 invested about $250 million in system improvements. This included more than 40 miles of new and rebuilt power lines and the construction of seven new substations throughout the company’s service territory.

This summer, APS anticipates a peak of 7,067 megawatts (MW), compared with the 2011 summer peak of 7,087 MW, which occurred on Aug. 24, during the hottest monsoon season ever recorded in the Valley. Between its existing generation, and long- and short-term contracts, APS has 8,696 MW of resources available to help meet summer demand.

The all-time APS system peak of 7,236 MW was set on July 21, 2006. (The summer peak – the 15-minute period when APS customers require the most energy – typically occurs in July or August between 5 and 6 p.m.)

APS successfully met peak demand in 2011 while providing its 1.1 million customers with record high levels of reliability. For the year, the typical APS customer experienced 0.79 power outages compared to a national industry median of 1.12 interruptions. Meanwhile, the typical APS customer experienced 69 minutes of interrupted service in 2011, compared with an industry median of 114 minutes. Both marks are APS records and fall within or near the top quartile of the industry.

In the event of large-scale customer outages, the company utilizes its Twitter outage feed, @APSOutageCenter, to provide real-time updates to its customers and other key audiences.

The state’s other major electric utilities also made presentations to the ACC.

For more information on APS, visit APS’ website at aps.com.

state land department

State Land Department, APS Partner On First Solar Facility To Be Built On State Land

Arizona’s State Land Department and Arizona Public Service are working in coordination to build the first-ever solar project on Arizona State Trust lands. Nearly 400 acres in Yuma County will soon be home to the 35-megawatt APS Foothills Solar Plant. The cost to APS for a 35-year lease on the land is $10 million, which will go primarily to help fund Arizona public education.“It is a commitment we share with Governor Brewer, the Arizona Corporation Commission and other key decision makers in Arizona. Together, we have taken another important step toward creating a sustainable energy future for Arizona.”

The unprecedented decision to build this project on State land supports Arizona Governor Janice K. Brewer’s goals to facilitate and encourage renewable energy and economic development in Arizona.

“This collaboration furthers our ongoing efforts to establish Arizona as a global leader in renewable energy,” said Governor Brewer. “The project will bring quality solar jobs to Arizona and dollars to support our state’s public schools – all while utilizing Arizona’s most abundant resource, the sun, to generate clean and renewable energy. It’s the first of many solar projects that will benefit the entire state and cement our status as the ‘Solar King.’ ”

For the past eight months, the State Land Department has done extensive work to identify State Trust land sites suitable for solar development. With these locations in mind, State Land Department Commissioner Maria Baier approached APS about building a solar plant on State Trust land. This led to an independent assessment by APS to determine the most suitable development location for its next solar plant – which yielded the Yuma Foothills project site. The fit was ideal for Arizona and for the company.

The result is APS’s fifth, and largest, AZ Sun project to date. The Foothills Solar Plant will have a capacity of 35 megawatts, or enough to power 8,750 Arizona homes. All the electricity produced from this facility will be used to serve local Yuma residents.

“Through our growing investment in solar energy, we are helping the environment, creating jobs and protecting our customers against potentially volatile fuel prices,” said Don Brandt, APS Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “It is a commitment we share with Governor Brewer, the Arizona Corporation Commission and other key decision makers in Arizona. Together, we have taken another important step toward creating a sustainable energy future for Arizona.”

Foothills will create more than 100 construction jobs and will break ground in August 2012. The plant is expected to come online in two phases – the first 17 MW will reach commercial operation by March 2013; the remaining 18 MW will reach commercial operation by December 2013. APS has hired Atlanta, Ga.-based AMEC to construct the facility.

The AZ Sun Program was approved by the ACC and enables APS to invest in the development of up to 200 megawatts of solar photovoltaic power plants across Arizona. APS will finance and own the projects, which are being designed and constructed by third-party solar developers, contractors and equipment providers. AZ Sun is good for APS customers because they benefit from the savings of renewable tax credits and utility-operated power plants for the entire useful life of the facilities.

The proceeds from land sales and leases of State Trust lands go to the beneficiaries of the State Land Trust, primarily Arizona Common Schools, supporting grades K-12. The Arizona State Land Department manages 9.3 million acres of Arizona State Trust Land. For more information about the Arizona State Land Department visit www.land.state.az.us or call (602) 542-4621.

Pinnacle West reports

Pinnacle West Reports Positive 2011 Fourth-quarter & Full-year Results

 ’Disciplined cost management’ and strong operational performance benefit bottom line

Pinnacle West Capital Corporation reported consolidated on-going earnings of $12.1 million, or $0.11 per diluted share of common stock, for the quarter ended December 31, 2011. This result compares with on-going earnings of $5.2 million, or $0.05 per share, in the same 2010 period. The Company’s net income attributable to common shareholders for the 2011 fourth quarter was $12.6 million, or $0.11 per diluted share, compared with net income of $7.4 million, or $0.07 per share, for the same quarter a year ago.

For full-year 2011, Pinnacle West reported consolidated on-going earnings of $328.1 million, or $2.99 per share, as compared to $324.7 million, or $3.03 per share, a year ago. Consolidated net income attributable to common shareholders for 2011 was $339.5 million, or $3.09 per diluted share, compared with 2010 net income of $350.1 million, or $3.27 per diluted share.

On-going earnings exclude results of discontinued operations primarily related to the Company’s real estate activities and former energy services business. A reconciliation of reported earnings to on-going earnings is provided at the end of this release.

“Disciplined cost management, concentration on our core electricity business and superior operational performance by our dedicated employees – particularly in the areas of customer service, reliability and safety – produced sound financial results,” said Pinnacle West Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Don Brandt.

Brandt added that the Company’s 2011 results exceeded its earnings guidance. The Company had projected that on-going earnings would be near the top of its guidance range of $2.75 to $2.90 per share. The actual results were due, in part, to lower than expected operating and maintenance costs, and cooler than normal weather that increased retail sales in the fourth quarter by a similar amount as the year-ago period.

“We achieved a significant milestone with the proposed settlement of APS’s pending retail rate case,” said Brandt. “The agreement has broad support and contains provisions important to customers, shareholders and other stakeholders.” The settlement is pending approval by the Arizona Corporation Commission. APS and the other parties have requested the agreement take effect July 1, 2012.

Brandt cited additional examples of the Company’s recent achievements:

  • In 2011, APS continued its top-tier customer satisfaction rating, maintained superior power plant performance, and provided its 1.1 million customers with record levels of service reliability.
  • Standard & Poor’s Corporation (S&P) raised credit ratings in June for Pinnacle West and APS to BBB, up from BBB-, thus reducing borrowing costs and improving access to debt markets. S&P cited the companies’ stronger credit metrics, reduction in debt, improving regulatory environment and prudent financial management as contributing factors.
  • APS also celebrated several renewable energy milestones as the AZ Sun Program (APS-owned solar energy) added 50 megawatts of new solar capacity, enough to serve more than 12,000 APS customers. With these plants, APS’s renewable energy portfolio now includes 423 megawatts with an additional 523 megawatts in development. New solar and wind plants to serve APS customers have created more than 2,400 design, engineering and construction jobs for Arizona.

The fourth-quarter on-going results comparison was positively impacted by the following major factors:

  • A decrease in operations and maintenance expenses improved earnings by $0.06 per share, due largely to lower power plant maintenance costs as a result of more work being completed earlier in the year than in 2010; and to lower employee benefit costs, partially offset by higher customer service and energy delivery expenses. The variance excludes costs associated with renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, which are offset by comparable amounts of operating revenues.
  • Higher transmission revenues improved earnings by $0.03 per share, primarily because of a retail transmission rate increase implemented in July 2011.

These positive factors were partially offset by the absence of tax benefits of $0.06 per share that were recorded in the 2010 fourth quarter, but were related to prior years.

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APS, the Company’s principal subsidiary, recorded 2011 fourth-quarter net income attributable to common shareholder of $14.3 million versus net income of $7.8 million for the comparable 2010 quarter. For 2011 as a whole, APS net income attributable to common shareholder was $336.2 million compared with $335.7 million for 2010.

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Palo Verde

Palo Verde Surpasses Production Record

Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station achieved its 20th consecutive year as the nation’s largest power producer.

The almost 31.3 million megawatt-hours produced in 2011 is the most ever generated by Palo Verde or by any other U.S. power plant of any kind.

According to industry data, Unit 3 produced more electricity than any other reactor in the U.S. in 2011 and was the second most productive in the world. Despite a scheduled refueling outage in the spring of 2011, Unit 2 was third most productive reactor in the U.S. and ranked 10th in the world. Unit 1, which had a scheduled refueling outage in the fall of 2011, ranked 14th in the U.S. and 30th in the world. Palo Verde’s three reactors are part of 104 operating units in the U.S. and 435 in the world.

“Our investment in equipment upgrades and our employees’ efforts to continually improve safety and overall plant performance has resulted in many successes,” said Randy Edington, Executive Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer for Arizona Public Service Co., the operator and largest owner of Palo Verde. “We are proud of our accomplishments in enhancing plant operation and will continue to strive to improve our record. We will stay on our course to achieve our mission to ‘safely and efficiently generate electricity for the long term.’ ”

From 2002 to 2010, Palo Verde installed new steam generators, high-efficiency turbine rotors, new reactor vessel heads and rapid refueling machines in all three units. These large investments resulted in increased output by about 200 megawatts and reduced down time for refueling and maintenance.

Other 2011 accomplishments include:

  • After a two-year in-depth technical audit, inspection and scrutiny of the plant’s operation, equipment and safety performance, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved extending the operating licenses for all three Palo Verde units an additional 20 years beyond the original 40-year licenses, allowing Unit 1 to operate through 2045, Unit 2 through 2046 and Unit 3 through 2047.
  • Palo Verde set a record for lowest outage radiation exposure in the nuclear industry. Palo Verde’s Unit 1 refueling outage completed in November recorded the lowest ever 20.6 rem. Prior to 2011, the best refueling outage recorded for a U.S. commercial plant was 28.2 rem in 2006. The record low exposure included 106,424 man-hours accumulated by more than a thousand nuclear professionals who worked in the tightly controlled areas of the plant where radiological exposure is possible. Current industry median for station-best is 59 rem. Rem is an abbreviation for roentgen equivalent man, a measurement of ionizing radiation. One rem is equivalent to receiving one upper gastrointestinal (GI) computerized tomography (CT) scan.
  • Palo Verde opened a new Energy Education Center in Buckeye. The new building includes state-of-the-art equipment needed to respond to an emergency and provide the public with the most complete, timely and accurate information. It also will be used for other business purposes including employee training, industry conferences, offsite meetings and community outreach activities. The U.S. Green Building Council awarded the facility its second-highest rating under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, known as LEED.

 

Palo Verde is the largest nuclear power plant in the nation. Its three units can generate more than 4 million kilowatts of safe, clean, reliable, low-cost electricity every hour – enough to serve about 4 million people.

Palo Verde is operated by APS and jointly owned by APS, Salt River Project, Southern California Edison Co., El Paso Electric Co., Public Service Co. of New Mexico, Southern California Public Power Authority and the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power.

Solar tariff

Debate Over Renewable Energy Tariff For Rebate Customers

Solar rebate customers may be faced with a higher renewable energy tariff that will supplement the solar rebate fund to help other customers install solar equipment.

Previous articles in the Green Scene section focused on the many available rebates for purchasing solar equipment for a home or business. These articles also focus on the savings that can be accrued after switching to a greener energy source. This post is a summation of the Dec. 20 Arizona Republic article and a personal commentary on the decisions to be made concerning a renewable energy tariff for rebate using customers.

The Renewable Energy Tariff

Before you switched to solar (or if you haven’t yet), you are charged with a renewable energy tariff. The tariff price is based on how much energy you use, so if you have installed solar energy equipment, you buy less energy from your utility company. Therefore, you reduce your monthly tariff. The APS renewable energy tariff is capped at $4 a month for residential customers that have not transitioned to solar energy. If you have a solar system on your home, you pay approximately half that, or less.

Arizona Corporation Commissioner, Brenda Burns, thinks it’s fair to charge those who used solar energy rebates a few extra dollars each month so that those who haven’t taken advantage of the solar rebates can have that same opportunity.

The reasoning behind this idea is that more people are going solar and fewer people are left paying the renewable energy tariff. So the Arizona Corporation Commission wants to ensure that there will be money in a fund to continue allocating rebates to customers that want to go solar.

It becomes an issue of fairness when people who are renting or those of lower income are paying the renewable energy tariff to its extent and supporting higher-income homeowners, living in affluent neighborhoods who want to use rebates to install solar in their homes, Burns says in the article. Burns also says that the implementation of the tariff will not be retroactive to those who have used rebates to install solar equipment in their homes, only those who utilize the rebates in the future.

I’m sure this has a lot of people asking, “Why should this come out of my pocket?”

Renewable Energy Tariff’s Effect On Solar Policy

Critics of this idea include solar companies and say that this is an attack on the industry. Arizona Corporation Commissioner, Paul Newman, wonders from where this idea stemmed in the first place and feels that it is a punishment for customers who were the first to make that transition to solar energy.

Different levels of rebates are available, but let’s say a customer utilizes a $4,000 rebate to install a solar system in their home. That person is already spending thousands of dollars to put this system on their roof; the rebate was a welcome relief and an incentive.

The political alignment with the move to go solar was constructed to make it easier to make the change, and by monetarily inviting homeowners to do so persuaded them. Now the policy with solar is still there, but it isn’t as motivating to homeowners.

I’m all for a greener future, and I love the idea of getting our power from the sun, but to entice homeowners with rebates and then make them pack back the rebates is comparable to false advertising.

In my mind, a rebate is a discount on a product that you don’t have to pay back. So, calling these solar rebates isn’t necessarily true. It’s like a loan that you borrow, but you pay it back interest free. And the next question is, how long? How long do clean-energy users continue paying the full rate of the renewable energy tax? Until they have paid back the amount of the rebate they used? Double the amount of the rebate they used?

Should solar rebate customers pay the renewable energy tariff so more customers can take advantage of solar energy? Should the idea of the rebate be eradicated completely and allow individuals to purchase their own solar equipment? Should the money just run out, with the utility companies instituted an early bird gets the worm policy when it concerns the solar rebates?

We’d like to know what you think, let us know in the comments.

 

Sustainability Discussions at the GoGreen Conference

GoGreen Conference ’11 Sustainability Panel Discussions (Part II)

In the first part of the GoGreen Conference ’11 coverage, we reported that sustainability education and patience were the buzzwords of many of the panel discussions. Here’s why:

The panel discussion titled “Green Your Workplace: High Impact Change at Your Business,” moderated by Ed Fox, chief sustainability officer for APS, focused on how to turn the idea of going green and sustainability into governance. This challenge small and large businesses face was the topic of discussion among the panel, which included:

  • Bryan Dunn, senior vice president of Adolfson & Peterson Construction;
  • Jonce Walker, sustainability manager of Maricopa County;
  • Anthony Floyd, LEED AP, green building program manager of the City of Scottsdale;
  • and Leslie Lindo, president and co-founder of IKOLOJI.

Fox began the discussion asking the panelists how one would convince the leaders of companies to pursue incorporating green elements into the workplace.

Floyd suggested offering incentives and marketing materials and free literature to spur interest. Lindo agreed providing incentives to employees will help encourage them to make the changes second nature. She also suggested owners become educated themselves and have a strong advocate in the office.

Walker took a different approach and said reducing consumption to afford sustainability is one step a business can consider taking. The company must be efficient and through this efficiency, it will convince others that the extra cost will be worth it.

Walker continued to say that it helps to know all the benefits of turning your particular business green — environmental, economical, etc. — and know your audience.

“Ninety percent of clients are bottom-line driven,” Dunn said. They want to save energy and save money, he added. Two ways companies can do this is by making their own operations more efficient (switching your lighting to LED, for example) while also anticipating changes in the marketplace.

Dunn also said behavioral modifications must take place. You can switch to LED, but the appropriate actions must be taken by the staff, i.e. remembering to turn off the lights.

But what was stressed was the acceptance of risk. While making your business more environmentally friendly and sustainable will help you save money in the long run, it will take some time to get there with few obvious returns. Or, as Fox put it, the few “low hanging fruit.”

In the following discussion, “Applying Sustainabilty Best Practices to Impact Community Equity and Diversity,” moderated by Dr. George Brooks, owner of Southwest Green and NxT Horizon Group and including Greg Peterson, founder of Urban Farm; Diane Brossart, president of Valley Forward; and Rosanne Albright, Brownfields Project Manager of the City of Phoenix, regenerative sustainability was the hot topic as well as education.

“Nature regenerates itself, not just sustains itself,” Peterson said. “Education is the key piece to sustainability.

Urban farming (or growing and sharing food), recycling land via the Brownfields Land Recycling Project, and the importance of parks and open space in the state were all covered in this discussion.

“Energy, food, health, poverty — they are all connected,” Brooks said. “Local sourcing and urban farms can help offset the costs of energy.”

Peterson’s final thoughts?

“It’s really a grassroots movement,” he said. “For those of you in the government, get out of our way.”

Visit the GoGreen Conference website at gogreenconference.net.