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By Anonymous Mike, pseudonymously.

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Monday, June 16, 2008
Renewable (Credits)

Arizona Corporation Commissioner Kris Mayes wants to up the bar for the percentage of renewable energy that regulated utilities will be expected to produce. Currently utilities are required by the Commission to produce 15% of their power from renewable sources by 2025; she wants that that 2025 target increased to 25%.

Did I mention she announced this during a speech she gave at Sky Song in Scottsdale? You know that campus built for ASU by the City of Scottsdale? How appropriate, because both that campus and Ms. Mayes' plan cannot exist without a raid on taxpayers' pockets

Speaking at a Sustainability Town Hall at the SkySong innovation center in Scottsdale, Mayes drew applause from the standing-room-only crowd when she said she looked forward to the day when a visitor flying into Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport "will see as many solar panels on the rooftops as swimming pools in the backyards."

I guess anything is possible but even with energy costs through the roof and generous government and utility subsidies, residential solar cells just don't make the cut investment wise. So how's this # of pools= # of rooftop solar arrays magic going to happen?

APS currently obtains about 2 percent of its electric supply from renewable sources, which will increase to 5 percent in 2012 when the 280-megawatt Solana solar thermal power plant is expected to be operating near Gila Bend, she said.

It would be the world's largest solar power plant if in operation today.

She added that APS, Salt River Project and other utilities are expecting to announce a second solar power project of similar size in the near future.

The energy from Solana is projected to be 40% more costly than that from conventional sources. The only reason APS is going to buy the energy from there is because it has to find some way to meet the ACC mandate and because they believe that by the time Solana is operational in 2011 that there will be a carbon cap and trade regime. Even with all of that, Solana will not be built without an extension of the federal tax credit which will be 30% of the overall project. So not only can Solana and other solar plants only be viable with government regulation, but they will raid your pocket twice in the form of both higher energy costs and taxpayer subsidies.

The best line of the article comes from the policy adviser to ACC Commissioner Gary Pearce...

"Why not 45 percent instead of 25 percent?"