Tag Archives: arizona corporation commission

SolarPower

Benefits of solar: Will anybody listen?

Arizona is about to begin an important discussion on the cost benefits of solar energy. The discussion is scheduled for May 7 as part of a series of workshops the Arizona Corporation Commission has scheduled to examine the impacts of innovation on the utility business model.

This workshop comes on the heels of last year’s acrimonious debate on net metering. That dispute focused on whether rooftop solar owners place an unfair burden on non-solar customers through a “cost shift” that left “traditional” customers holding the bag for the majority of costs to maintain and operate the utility infrastructure. Absent from those deliberations, however, were any consideration for the value of solar.

Up until now, all the fuss has been about determining the value of the green electron to the utility and comparing it to the cost of the cheapest alternative. Attempts to expand the dialogue have largely failed to include the environmental attributes of solar and other non-energy benefits.

Witness the wisdom of 18 Arizona state senators who earlier this year voted for Senate Resolution 1003, which calls for the nullification of all rules, including clean air and water requirements, imposed by the EPA.

Yet the continued burning of fossil fuels is feeding such societal and climatic disruptions as the bark beetle infestation in old-growth pine forests in northern Arizona, the decreasing water flowing through our rivers, dams, canals and into our cities, a record drought that is devastating farmers’ crops, incomes and livelihoods and resulting in wildfires that destroy property and claim lives.

Recent events clearly illustrate that the impact of climate change isn’t limited to wild animals or the polar ice. The impacts are being felt everywhere — food and water supplies, the economy and our health. It’s a threat to our way of life.

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its latest report (Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability) last week. The report was written by 300 experts from 70 countries and based on 12,000 peer-reviewed scientific papers. The report reveals in no uncertain terms that the continued burning of fossil fuels at present rates will cause more floods, droughts and violent storms as CO2 emissions drive up global temperatures and feed climatic changes.

In the face of the overwhelming evidence, the discussion in the Arizona Legislature actually included the purported positive impacts of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel consumption. That “debate” ignores the evidence that the amount of CO2 produced by fossil fuel consumption exceeds the ability of living organisms and other natural processes to remove it and store it in other forms.

Now, the conversation shifts from the myopic Legislature back to the hearing rooms of the Corporation Commission, where the cost benefits of solar energy is on the agenda.

Minnesota is just concluding a similar process and have come up with a formula to establish a value for solar electrons. The Minnesota formula includes several actors, including avoided costs of fuel purchases, new power plant construction and avoided transmission capacity.

More importantly, though, Minnesota assigns a methodology and cost to environmental impacts. This process for the first time will put a utility on the hook for the environmental harm it causes. In other words, instead of shifting the costs of environmental damage caused by their operations onto society those environmental damages now come with a price tag to the utilities.

The Minnesota formula may end up requiring utilities to pay more for a net-metered solar electron than the current retail cost of electricity. While that may sound like a bad deal for utilities, it could prove to be the incentive utilities need to reduce the carbon intensity of their delivered electricity, which in turn would reduce the value of solar.

It is hard to image Arizona following suit – after all it is pretty clear that science and politics don’t mix well at the Legislature. But any discussion that doesn’t place a value on our environment is promoting a cost-shift of massive portion. And it is society and the planet – not fossil-fueled utilities – that will bear the crushing burden.

Jim Arwood served six Arizona governors in various capacities managing federal energy programs, culminating in his appointment by then Governor Janet Napolitano, as Director of the State Energy Office in 2006. After nearly 25 years serving the state of Arizona, Mr. Arwood retired from government service in 2010 and today consults for a variety of energy related organizations and serves as Director of Communications for the Arizona Solar Center.

duke energy renewables - solar panel

Arizona’s Energy Efficiency Programs Rank in Top 10

The most authoritative national ranking of state energy efficiency policies and programs released today shows Arizona leading the Southwest. Arizona placed 12th overall in the national rankings and 10th in the country on a key score for utility energy efficiency programs and policies.

The 2013 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) annually ranks states based on their commitment to energy efficiency in several areas, including utility policies and programs, buildings, industry, appliances, transportation, and state government initiatives.

“It is a great accomplishment for Arizona to be ranked among the top 10 states for utility energy efficiency programs and policies,” said Bob Stump, Chairman of the Arizona Corporation Commission. “Jobs in Arizona depend on businesses and consumers having affordable utility bills, and these programs and policies help ensure that.”

In this seventh Scorecard report, Arizona’s rise to 10th place for utility programs and policies was based largely upon electric and natural gas utility programs that help customers save energy and money. Examples include utility programs that offer home energy check-ups and rebates to help residents reduce household energy use, work with small businesses to install more efficient lighting and cooling systems, and provide technical assistance and rebates for energy-saving projects in large commercial and industrial facilities.

“Salt River Project has grown our suite of energy efficiency programs in recent years and the portfolio has performed well. During this past year alone, we have helped our customers save more than 630 million kilowatt hours of energy in their homes and businesses,” said Dan Dreiling, Manager of Product Development at SRP. “Our goal is to help our customers use energy wisely and provide a variety of cost-effective programs to meet their needs.”

Arizona has climbed the national rankings in recent years, rising to 12th overall in 2013, up from 29th place as recently as 2009.

Massachusetts leads the country in the ACEEE State Scorecard rankings for the third year in a row.  Following Massachusetts in the top 5 are California, New York, Oregon and Connecticut.

duke energy renewables - solar panel

Arizona's Energy Efficiency Programs Rank in Top 10

The most authoritative national ranking of state energy efficiency policies and programs released today shows Arizona leading the Southwest. Arizona placed 12th overall in the national rankings and 10th in the country on a key score for utility energy efficiency programs and policies.

The 2013 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) annually ranks states based on their commitment to energy efficiency in several areas, including utility policies and programs, buildings, industry, appliances, transportation, and state government initiatives.

“It is a great accomplishment for Arizona to be ranked among the top 10 states for utility energy efficiency programs and policies,” said Bob Stump, Chairman of the Arizona Corporation Commission. “Jobs in Arizona depend on businesses and consumers having affordable utility bills, and these programs and policies help ensure that.”

In this seventh Scorecard report, Arizona’s rise to 10th place for utility programs and policies was based largely upon electric and natural gas utility programs that help customers save energy and money. Examples include utility programs that offer home energy check-ups and rebates to help residents reduce household energy use, work with small businesses to install more efficient lighting and cooling systems, and provide technical assistance and rebates for energy-saving projects in large commercial and industrial facilities.

“Salt River Project has grown our suite of energy efficiency programs in recent years and the portfolio has performed well. During this past year alone, we have helped our customers save more than 630 million kilowatt hours of energy in their homes and businesses,” said Dan Dreiling, Manager of Product Development at SRP. “Our goal is to help our customers use energy wisely and provide a variety of cost-effective programs to meet their needs.”

Arizona has climbed the national rankings in recent years, rising to 12th overall in 2013, up from 29th place as recently as 2009.

Massachusetts leads the country in the ACEEE State Scorecard rankings for the third year in a row.  Following Massachusetts in the top 5 are California, New York, Oregon and Connecticut.

solar

ACC issues residential solar recommendations

The Arizona Corporation Commission staff issued its highly anticipated recommendations in response to APS’s proposed rule changes directed at residential solar customers. ACC recommended that the Commission not approve either of APS’s proposed Net Metering cost-shift solutions.

Net Metering is the mechanism that allows residential customers the right to offset energy purchases from the utility with self-generation on a one-to-one basis.

The ACC staff proposals, like those from APS, are only recommendations. Any changes to the existing rules must be voted on by the Arizona Corporation Commissioners. The Commissioners are scheduled to take up the issue at its Oct. 16 and 17 hearing.

ACC staff further recommended that should any changes be granted, existing rooftop solar customers should be grandfathered under the old rules, and that those rules should apply to the rooftop equipment and premises where the equipment is installed. In other words, the net metering rules should “run with the land,” versus being a “right” that resides with a specific customer.

Although ACC staff recommended that no changes be made at this time, it did suggest that this issue be evaluated during APS’s next rate case. They said it was their belief that any cost-shift issue created by Net Metering is fundamentally a matter of rate design and that the appropriate time for designing rates that equitably allocate the costs and benefits of Net Metering is during APS’s next general rate case.

ACC staff further recommended that the Commission hold workshops with all stakeholders to help inform future Commission policy on the value that Distributed Generation (rooftop solar) installations bring to the grid. In addition, Staff recommended that within the workshops, the Commission investigate the currently non-monetized benefits of Distributed Generation with the goal of developing a methodology for assigning a values to the non-energy benefits of rooftop solar.

ACC staff believes this recommended course of action is the most effective and appropriate method of dealing with the Net Metering cost-shift issue APS outlined in its July 12 filing. However, since it is not yet clear whether the Commission will decide to deal with this issue immediately, staff offered two alternative recommendations as bridge solutions in an effort to at least begin gradually addressing the Net Metering cost-shift issue until the matter can be more comprehensively resolved in a future general rate case.

The first interim proposal is a Lost Fixed Cost Recovery (LFCR) Flat Charge provision for all new APS solar rooftop customers, unless the customers choose the ETC-2 rate which relies on a demand-based charge to partially collect fixed costs. The LFCR is designed to recover a portion of costs arising from transmission and distribution, and other miscellaneous fixed costs.

The recommendation would have new solar customers pay into the LFCR account at a flat rate, thereby reducing the impact on non-solar customers. The estimated impact of this flat charge would amount to an estimated monthly increase between $2 and $3 for new solar customers compared to the $50 to $100 a month charge under APS’s proposal.

ACC staff’s recommendation also included a second alternative in the event the Commissioners wanted to implement an immediate rule change before the next rate case, proposing a Distributed Generation (DG) Premium could be implemented on a gradual basis so as to minimize the immediate impact on future solar customers. The proposal said this could be done by initially setting the DG Premium at $2.75/kW. The DG Premium would be the cap for the monthly charge under this alternative. The Commission could lower or increase the DG Premium annually based on the effect it has on new solar installations. The Commission could also adopt an approach wherein the DG Premium is initially set at a lower amount than that recommended by Staff, and phased-in over a period of years.

Tempe Rendering - PR 9-9-13

Liberty Center at Rio Salado Ready for Construction

Bulldozers and backhoes are in motion at Liberty Center at Rio Salado, the new sustainable mixed-use business park under development by Liberty Property Trust in Tempe at Priest Road and Rio Salado Parkway. The company is readying the location for construction with the recent approval of its site plan by the City of Tempe.

“Rising demand for larger, contiguous spaces is the catalyst for our quick start,” said John DiVall, senior vice president and city manager for Liberty’s Arizona region. “We have submitted plans for our first office building to the City and anticipate starting development of both that building and the main entrance to the park in the fourth quarter. Interest from current and prospective tenants is growing quickly, so we’re eager to begin to bring the vision of this park to life.”

In 2012, Liberty Property Trust was selected by the City of Tempe as the developer for the 100 acre site located at Priest Road and Rio Salado Parkway. Liberty Center at Rio Salado is centrally located in the heart of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area, offers unparalleled visibility from Arizona Route 143 and Red Mountain Loop 202, and is within minutes of Sky Harbor International Airport. The location is less than five miles from the company’s fully leased 1.2 million square foot business park Liberty Cotton Center. In addition to office, flex and industrial space, DiVall notes that the plans call for hotel, restaurant and retail locations.

“When complete, Liberty Center at Rio Salado will be a fully-visioned complex that will benefit tenants, employees and the City, and add valuable resources to the surrounding community,” he added. 

At build-out, Liberty Center at Rio Salado will feature more than one million square feet of space, and all buildings developed by Liberty Property Trust at the park will be designed to meet LEED certification with a focus on energy efficiency.

Wespac Construction will manage the earthwork on the site and RSP Architects is handling the land planning. Development work bids are still being processed.

Michael Mahoney Cut

Mike Mahoney Awarded Sundt Construction Lifetime Achievement Award

Michael Mahoney CGM_9866Mike Mahoney, a general superintendent who most recently worked on Sundt Construction’s federal projects, was recently given a Lifetime Achievement award, underscoring Sundt’s core values of longevity and loyalty.

The award is not given annually; instead, it is only presented when warranted. This is the third time in the company’s 123-year history the Lifetime Achievement award has been presented. Mahoney’s contributions to Sundt were acknowledged during Sundt’s Annual Leadership Conference, where 100 of the top senior management gathered.

Mahoney, who started with M.M. Sundt as a concrete finisher, has worked on a wide range of projects across the United States for 40 years.

rsz_cbre-2

CBRE Hosts City-Wide Clothing Drive

Commercial real estate services firm CBRE is holding its third annual, city-wide business clothing drive called PurSUIT of SUCCESS, benefiting two nonprofit organizations that provide job training and career counseling to women and men throughout the Phoenix area.

The two beneficiaries of the business clothing drive are:

  • Fresh Start Women’s Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping empower women through services focused on economic self-sufficiency, self-esteem and lifelong learning.
  • St. Joseph the Worker, which assists the homeless, low-income and other disadvantaged individuals in their efforts to become self-sufficient through quality employment.
WHEN: September 9 – 20, 2013 
WHERE: Current, gently-used business attire can be donated—Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. —at CBRE’s Phoenix Esplanade office, located at 2415 E. Camelback Road. In addition, 18 CBRE-managed buildings throughout the Phoenix area, along with hundreds of building tenants, are participating in the business clothing drive. Many of these locations are also accepting donations from the public, including: 

  • 3131 & 3333 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix
  • 3300 Tower, 3300 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
  • 5090 N. 40th Street, Phoenix
  • 92 Mountain View, 10001 N. 92nd St., Scottsdale
  • Broadway 101 Office Park, 2151 E. Broadway Road, Tempe
  • Desert Ridge Corporate Center, 20860 N. Tatum Blvd., Phoenix
  • Esplanade III, 2415 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix
  • Gainey Center II, 8501 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
  • MAX at Kierland, 16220 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
  • Northsight Financial Office Park, 14500 N. Northsight Blvd., Scottsdale
  • Phoenix Plaza, 2929 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
  • San Tan Corporate Center, 3100 W. Ray Road, Chandler
  • Scottsdale Financial Center III, 7272 E. Indian School Road, Scottsdale
  • Scottsdale Gateway, 9201 E. Mountain View Road, Scottsdale
  • Stapley Center, 1630, S. Stapley Drive, Mesa

 

PurSUIT of SUCCESS is the largest, business clothing drive in metro Phoenix, and benefits women and men in job training programs at Fresh Start Women’s Foundation and St. Joseph the Worker. Through these organizations, women and men receive career counseling, job skill training, emotional support and clothing suitable to wear in a business environment, which, in turn, provide confidence and a positive self-image—an important step in their individual pursuit of success.

During the past two years, CBRE’s PurSUIT of SUCCESS has collected more than 6,900 articles of clothing, providing interview and work outfits for hundreds of people working to regain their independence.

To learn more about PurSUIT of SUCCESS visit www.cbre.com/purSUITofSUCCESS.

Jodi Jerich

Jodi Jerich – 50 Most Influential Women in Arizona Business

Jodi JerichExecutive director, Arizona Corporation Commission

As executive director of the Arizona Corporation Commission, Jerich oversees a state agency that has 300 employees and a $27 million budget. She came to the commission after serving about three years as director of the Arizona Residential Utility Consumer Office, a state agency that advocates for consumers on electric, gas, phone, water and telecommunication issues. The commission is responsible for granting or denying utility rate adjustments, enforcing transportation safety and public service requirement. Jerich is an attorney and a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Surprising fact: “I have never eaten a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”

Biggest challenge: “My parents gave me good advice: “Don’t ignore a challenge; instead, set a course to conquer it.”

Fifty Most Influential Women in Arizona Business – Every year in its July/August issue Arizona Business Magazine features 50 women who make an impact on Arizona business. To see the full list, read the digital issue >>

solar

APS proposes changing solar rates

A proposed rate change for Arizona Public Service Co. customers who install rooftop solar panels could affect the future of the state’s solar industry.

The utility is proposing to give customers with new solar panel systems less credit for the electricity their systems supply to the power grid under a proposal pending before the Arizona Corporation Commission.

The proposal would drop the rate of return by as much as 40 percent, but the utility says new customers would also be offered some incentives.

The utility says the change is needed because solar customers are not paying enough for the services they get when their panels are not producing electricity.

Greg Field of Arizona Solar Concepts says if the commission approves the proposed changes to the utility’s net metering program, it will destroy the state’s solar industry.

 

Untitled

Clark, Suciu Join Jones, Skelton & Hochuli

Jones, Skelton & Hochuli, PLC announced that Andrew Clark and Kimberly Suciu have joined the firm as Associates.

Clark will focus his practice on general civil litigation and insurance defense, bad faith, personal injury and construction defect.  Clark grew up in the valley and attended the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering at ASU prior to attending ASU law school. Prior to joining Jones, Skelton & Hochuli, Clark was a law clerk with the Arizona Corporation Commission, legal extern with the Arizona Department of Administration, a law clerk for the Yuma County Legal Defender’s Office, and legal extern with City of Mesa Prosecutor’s Office.

Suciu joins Jones, Skelton & Hochuli as an Associate focusing her practice on medical malpractice defense and general civil litigation and insurance defense. Prior to joining the firm, Suciu served as a Judicial Extern for the Honorable Patricia A. Orozco, of the Arizona Court of Appeals, Division.

Untitled

Clark, Suciu Join Jones, Skelton & Hochuli

Jones, Skelton & Hochuli, PLC announced that Andrew Clark and Kimberly Suciu have joined the firm as Associates.

Clark will focus his practice on general civil litigation and insurance defense, bad faith, personal injury and construction defect.  Clark grew up in the valley and attended the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering at ASU prior to attending ASU law school. Prior to joining Jones, Skelton & Hochuli, Clark was a law clerk with the Arizona Corporation Commission, legal extern with the Arizona Department of Administration, a law clerk for the Yuma County Legal Defender’s Office, and legal extern with City of Mesa Prosecutor’s Office.

Suciu joins Jones, Skelton & Hochuli as an Associate focusing her practice on medical malpractice defense and general civil litigation and insurance defense. Prior to joining the firm, Suciu served as a Judicial Extern for the Honorable Patricia A. Orozco, of the Arizona Court of Appeals, Division.

Alana Hake - color

Hake Joins Gallagher & Kennedy as Associate

Gallagher & Kennedy, P.A., a full service business law firm, announced today that Alana C. Hake has joined the firm as an associate in the Environmental and Natural Resources practice group. She will practice environmental and natural resources law, specializing in environmental remediation work for the mining industry.

Prior to joining Gallagher & Kennedy, Hake was an associate at a Phoenix law firm where she practiced environmental, energy, and regulatory law. She has significant experience analyzing and preparing legal memoranda on environmental, energy and regulatory issues. Hake has also successfully represented clients with regulatory compliance and licensing needs before several state regulatory agencies, including the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, the Arizona Corporation Commission and the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions.

Hake earned her J.D., summa cum laude, in 2008 from Washington University in St. Louis and her B.S., summa cum laude, in 2005 from The Master’s College. She is a Blackstone Legal Fellow for Alliance Defending Freedom and a volunteer for The Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project.

Alana Hake - color

Hake Joins Gallagher & Kennedy as Associate

Gallagher & Kennedy, P.A., a full service business law firm, announced today that Alana C. Hake has joined the firm as an associate in the Environmental and Natural Resources practice group. She will practice environmental and natural resources law, specializing in environmental remediation work for the mining industry.

Prior to joining Gallagher & Kennedy, Hake was an associate at a Phoenix law firm where she practiced environmental, energy, and regulatory law. She has significant experience analyzing and preparing legal memoranda on environmental, energy and regulatory issues. Hake has also successfully represented clients with regulatory compliance and licensing needs before several state regulatory agencies, including the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, the Arizona Corporation Commission and the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions.

Hake earned her J.D., summa cum laude, in 2008 from Washington University in St. Louis and her B.S., summa cum laude, in 2005 from The Master’s College. She is a Blackstone Legal Fellow for Alliance Defending Freedom and a volunteer for The Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project.

energy.bill

Direct Energy Opens Phoenix Area Call Center

Direct Energy today officially opened its Phoenix area call center in Tempe symbolizing the company’s dedication to grow long-term in the Phoenix community. As part of the grand opening festivities, Direct Energy announced that the company and its employees would commit to volunteering a minimum of 2,000 hours over the next year among several different area non-profit organizations including Habitat for Humanity and the St. Mary’s Food Bank.

“Direct Energy takes community investment and corporate social responsibility very seriously,” said Scott Boose, president, Direct Energy Services. “We are committed to making a difference in our customer’s lives and positive impacts in areas like Phoenix where we are part of the community employing hundreds of people with plans to grow even more.”
The community involvement initiative announcement was made at a press conference at Direct Energy’s new call center. During the press conference, Direct Energy also discussed its optimism that Arizona will open to retail electric competition, an industry where Direct Energy is the largest in North America. Recently, Direct Energy submitted a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (CC&N) to the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) to serve retail electric customers in the state. The ultimate goal is to allow more consumers, specifically residential and small businesses, in Arizona to reap the full benefits of a competitive retail market structure, which may include cost savings.

“Across the United States in competitive retail electric markets, Direct Energy has offered choice and innovative time-of-use products to consumers that will save them money,” said Steven Murray, president, Direct Energy Residential. “Arizona should be no different and we look forward to working with the Arizona Corporation Commission Commissioners and other parties to continue the forward progress the state is making toward competition.”

Direct Energy employs more than 200 people in the Phoenix area with current plans to grow to as many as 500. The company’s call center in Tempe serves customers in both Direct Energy Services for their plumbing, heating and air conditioning, and electricians needs, and Direct Energy Residential for our retail electric customers.

“We are so pleased to celebrate this day with Direct Energy and its employees,” said Mayor Mark Mitchell. “Tempe is excited about adding 500 new jobs to our community, and we are appreciative of the volunteerism of the Direct Energy employees. That is a genuine and generous sign that they are here to stay.”

“Our new call center is a symbol of the important position Tempe and the Phoenix area has toward growing our customer base and business in North America,” said Matt George, Direct Energy’s call center director and senior executive in the Phoenix area. “I look forward to showing the community our new workplace and enhancing our visibility and influence here.”

Runoff Election, Early Voting Phoenix Mayor, Council

ACC's Burns won't seek re-election

Arizona Corporation Commissioner Brenda Burns says she has no plans to run for a second term.

Burns made the announcement Friday. She says she will continue to be a watchdog for Arizona ratepayers until her current term ends.

Burns says she would have liked to put off making the announcement until 2014, but she decided to come forward with her intentions in fairness to potential candidates and out of respect for the office.

A former state lawmaker, Burns was Arizona’s first woman to serve as the House majority leader and Senate president.

The five-member Corporation Commission regulates public utilities and securities, enforces transportation safety and public service requirements, and handles the incorporation of businesses and organizations.

Runoff Election, Early Voting Phoenix Mayor, Council

ACC’s Burns won’t seek re-election

Arizona Corporation Commissioner Brenda Burns says she has no plans to run for a second term.

Burns made the announcement Friday. She says she will continue to be a watchdog for Arizona ratepayers until her current term ends.

Burns says she would have liked to put off making the announcement until 2014, but she decided to come forward with her intentions in fairness to potential candidates and out of respect for the office.

A former state lawmaker, Burns was Arizona’s first woman to serve as the House majority leader and Senate president.

The five-member Corporation Commission regulates public utilities and securities, enforces transportation safety and public service requirements, and handles the incorporation of businesses and organizations.

Power Outage Map

State challenges pollution control upgrades

The Arizona Corporation Commission is criticizing recent actions by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to clean up the state’s power plants.

The commission voted Tuesday to file an amicus brief in federal appeals court supporting the state’s challenge to pollution control upgrades at three coal-fired power plants.

The EPA partially approved Arizona’s air quality plan for the Cholla, Coronado and Apache generating stations. But the agency set its own limits for nitrogen oxide emissions and gave the plants’ operators five years to comply.

The commission says the EPA’s decision doesn’t strike the right balance of environmental stewardship and protection of Arizona’s economy.

The commission says it also will weigh in against a proposal for pollution control upgrades at the Navajo Generating Station. Public comments are due Aug. 5.

solar

Arizona regulators cut TEP’s solar incentives

The Arizona Corporation Commission is reducing incentives provided by Tucson Electric Power Cop. for residential rooftop solar installations to generate electricity or heat water.

The commission also is eliminating Tucson Electric’s incentives for commercial customers’ renewable energy generation, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

Commissioner Gary Pierce says the cuts approved Wednesday are justified because the costs of systems are dropping and because ratepayers need to be protected from rising costs of the state’s renewable energy program.

The commission increased by $5 million Tucson Electric’s spending for renewable energy under a state mandate for utilities to gradually increase their use of solar and other renewable sources.

solar

Arizona regulators cut TEP's solar incentives

The Arizona Corporation Commission is reducing incentives provided by Tucson Electric Power Cop. for residential rooftop solar installations to generate electricity or heat water.

The commission also is eliminating Tucson Electric’s incentives for commercial customers’ renewable energy generation, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

Commissioner Gary Pierce says the cuts approved Wednesday are justified because the costs of systems are dropping and because ratepayers need to be protected from rising costs of the state’s renewable energy program.

The commission increased by $5 million Tucson Electric’s spending for renewable energy under a state mandate for utilities to gradually increase their use of solar and other renewable sources.

wind

Arizona stops unregistered investments

The Arizona Corporation Commission has put the brakes on two separate investment endeavors that involved selling securities in wind and gold mining projects.

The panel announced Tuesday that it reached settlements with three people and ordered more than $16 million in restitution to be paid to investors.

In the first case, Edward Mazur and Ronnie Williams were accused of fraudulently promoting an unregistered investment program involving wind energy development.

The commission found that Mazur and Williams offered and sold to more than 300 investors nationwide but were not registered to do so.

In the other case, the commission found that Larry Goldman of Tucson and his company, MT Explorations, LLC, promoted an unregistered gold mining investment program to more than two dozen people in Arizona, Ohio and Utah.

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 Power

Solar Power Is Not Just About Saving the Planet

We believe that aside from the political hype, solar technology as an energy alternative is a fiscally healthy change for many businesses. Solar is a proven technology, and business should understand how they can take advantage of the long-term energy solutions that solar can provide.

When it comes to energy efficiency, reducing expenses, or planning for the future of your company, solar power is an option that should be investigated. Here are a few questions businesses should consider asking:

  • Is my building energy efficient?
  • Is solar an economical solution?
  • What are the advantages of becoming green?

The cost of energy increases every year, and utility expenses we see on profit and loss statements are substantial.  The average 2,300-square-foot household in Phoenix pays 11 cents a kilowatt for energy.  Seems like pennies, but after 12-months this amounts to $2,530 dollars. A business, by comparison, with 25,000 to 100,000 square feet of combined office and warehouse space, could be spending as much as $90,000 a year with the utility company. That’s a lot of pennies.

The number of companies converting to green technology is fast becoming commonplace.  In fact, the Arizona Corporation Commission requires regulated utilities to generate 15 percent of its energy from renewable resources by 2025.

An Intro

A solar cell is a device that directly converts the energy in light into electrical energy through the process of photovoltaic or what’s commonly called solar PV. Throughout the southwest, federal, state, municipal and city governments — as well as most of the Fortune 1000 — are converting to solar as a means to reduce utility costs.

Commercial solar is most commonly installed on the roof but more and more solar installations are being built as solar-shaded parking structures. Businesses are benefiting from the energy production while providing the dual benefit of shaded parking for their clients and employees.

Fast Facts

  • A typical silicon cell solar module will have a life in excess of 20 years.
  • Each hour of each day, more energy from the sun reaches our planet than is used by the entire global population in an entire year.
  • Historically, public utilities in Arizona have increased utility rates an average of five percent a year.
  • More than 3,500 square miles of federal land is currently awaiting permits for solar power development.

State and Federal Tax Rebate Program Highlights

Business Energy Investment Tax Credit: This is a Federal ITC of 30 percent based on the cost of the system installed. There is no cap to the amount of the ITC credit. In addition, solar qualifies for bonus depreciation as well as accelerated depreciation on 85 percent of the system cost.

Performance-Based Incentive (PBI): This is a quarterly rebate paid by the public utility. The rebate is paid as a cash incentive for 20 years based on the amount of solar energy produced. The PBI is used to help offset the cost of installing solar.

Arizona State Corporate Tax Credit: This is a state tax credit of 10 percent of the cost of the system not to exceed $25,000 per building/structure or $50,000 annually per business.

Questions to Ask

First, the business owner should meet with a qualified solar expert and have them complete comprehensive energy efficiency and cost analysis that includes:

  • Review of state, federal tax and cash incentives
  • Utility incentives and cash rebates
  • Cost savings analysis

Second, thoroughly review the tax benefits associated with installing solar.  The tax benefits as you will see can be significant, so take some time reviewing all the benefits of the tax and incentives offered through the public utilities. Keep in mind that SRP incentives are structured differently from APS and TEP.  The utilities have very comprehensive websites to help you understand the options available. Alternatively, you can contact a solar integrator or installation company as they have a good handle on all rebate and incentive options.

Finally, evaluate financing the hard cost of installing solar. If the out-of-pocket costs to install solar combined with the cost to finance is less than the historical energy costs, then seriously consider going green.

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.

Arizona Public Service

Arizona Public Service Co. Seeks Renewable Energy Projects

Arizona Public Service Co. announces a Request for Proposal (RFP) from solar developers and installers to construct a 14-megawatt solar photovoltaic facility – financed by APS through the company’s AZ Sun Program.

The RFP will commence on March 15. Interested parties are encouraged to participate in a bidder’s webinar on March 22. Additional information about the webinar and the RFP is available online.

Projects must employ commercially proven technology. When completed in 2013, the new solar facility, part of the AZ Sun Program, will be owned and operated by Arizona Public Service and is expected to provide electricity to more than 3,500 Arizona homes.

With AZ Sun, APS is investing in the development of 200 MW of solar photovoltaic power plants across Arizona. APS is partnering with third-party developers and equipment providers to design and construct the facilities, increasing the opportunity for more developers to participate since project financing is provided by APS.

The AZ Sun Program was approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission in 2010, and expanded to include another 100 MW in January 2012. The five-year program is expected to have at least eight solar facilities online by 2015 and create more than 2,400 Arizona construction jobs.

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).