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Why This Matters: This ambitious 2050 goal is going to take a concerted effort — APS currently gets 22 percent of its power from coal and 26 percent from gas and oil, according to the company, and the massive Palo Verde nuclear plant accounts for 25 percent of the mix, while renewables deliver only 12 % right now. What changed since 2018? The company’s CEO, investor interests, and ultimately Arizona public opinion. Isn’t it ironic? It is only a shame that they spent so much money to defeat the ballot initiative — money that could have been dedicated to developing more renewable energy sources. Better late than never. As we have written, APS joins a growing list of utilities making similar carbon commitments.
Steyer Is Gracious In Victory
The Post reported that Steyer said in a statement, “I am very encouraged by the news from Arizona Public Service this morning and I am also happy that our efforts behind Proposition 127 in 2018 are finally moving Arizona to a more clean energy future….The plan put forth by APS shows that when public interest advocates keep pushing energy companies, they can get real results.” Interestingly, the company’s chief said they will no longer spend money funding the campaigns of candidates for the public utility commission that regulates APS, thereby taking politics out of the decision in the future.
How Will They Get There?
Actually they don’t know the full answer yet — APS’ CEO Jeff Gulder said, “We know that there’s almost certainly going to be a need for some dispatchable resources to maintain reliability,” and continued, “[l]et’s get those signals moving so that we can use market-driven methods to drive some of the technology advances.” APS plans to rely on existing gas-fired power in the “near term” to make “a sensible transition to clean generating sources,” and eventually will build large storage facilities to make an all renewables portfolio viable. It is clear that it would be uneconomic to keep open the company’s two aging coal plants, which are 50 years old.
President Trump trumpeted his trade deal with China, but so far it has been a bust, according to The Wall Street Journal — the Chinese have not purchased nearly the amount of energy (in terms of total dollars) as they promised — only $2B in oil and gas purchases against a commitment of $25B for this year.
A federal judge in Washington, DC ruled yesterday that the Dakota Access Pipeline must shut down and empty all its oil until the government completes an environmental review of the pipeline’s impacts, giving the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose reservation lies downstream, a huge victory. Similarly, late in the day, the Supreme Court refused to overturn the order of a district judge that shut down construction of parts of the Keystone XL pipeline so it is also blocked for now.
Why It Matters: The Dakota and Keystone XL news is greatly tempered by the fact that numerous other pipeline projects can go ahead despite their inadequate permit unless they are individually challenged in court and blocked.
Yesterday, Dominion Energy and its partner, Duke Energy, announced they were ending a 600-mile natural gas project that would have cost at least $8 billion to complete. As the Richmond Times-Dispatch wrote, Dominion and Duke canceled the construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in the face of mounting regulatory uncertainty caused by a federal court […]
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