This year, the midterm elections saw numerous candidates and policies surrounding renewable energy in Arizona and across the country. From the Arizona Corporation Commission to Proposition 127, voters made decisions this week that will impact our state’s energy future for years to come.
After an extremely heated and expensive battle, renewable energy measure Proposition 127 failed. The measure would have elevated the state’s clean energy portfolio, requiring 50% of our power to come from renewables by 2030. It has been an uphill battle, with both sides pouring over $50 million into the fight, making it the most expensive ballot measure ever in Arizona. Our neighbors in Nevada preliminarily passed an identical initiative, moving their state one step closer toward securing a cleaner, more sustainable energy future. Nevada voters will have to approve this measure again in 2020 for it to go into effect.
Arizona Corporation Commission
This year's Arizona Corporation Commission election is still a close call. Republican candidates Rodney Glassman and Justin Olson are currently in the lead by a slight margin, with Democrats Sandra Kennedy in third and Kiana Sears last. The ACC is the regulatory body that controls utility prices, what kinds of sources we use to produce energy, and much more. Learn more about the commission and the vital role it plays in our state in this blog. With examples of corruption in the past, the election this year was vital for restoring trust with Arizona residents.
If the GOP candidates take the two ACC seats, the commission will remain under the same party majority which has controlled it since 2013. As Republican commissioners have been tied to many of the previous corruption allegations, it will be important to monitor the progress of the ACC in terms of special interests and renewable energy initiatives. If Kennedy prevails, it will mark a shift that has been a long time coming. However, the regulatory body would still be represented by a Republican majority.
Although climate change initiatives and renewable energy standards have taken a back seat in the hands of a GOP-controlled House and Senate, Democrats will now have more opportunity to push environmental protection and focus on clean energy. With a Democratic House, there will be more focus on renewable energy, as well as restructuring of climate change committees that were dismantled by our current administration. Arizona has five of its House seats held by Democrats and four held by Republicans, which will help support climate change initiatives and renewable energy standards stateside as well as nationally.
With record-breaking turn out, this year’s elections have been nothing short of a roller coaster, with many races still yet to be determined. Although solar and other renewable energy efforts didn’t get all of the wins they needed, we’re hopeful for a cleaner, brighter future for Arizona and the nation.