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Energy:
omnibus energy act of 2008

Our Position: support
Bill Number: HB2766
Sponsor: Mason, Ch Campbell, McClure, et al.
Legislative Session: 2008 Legislative Session

HB2766 omnibus energy act of 2008 (Mason, Ch Campbell, McClure, et al.) promotes energy efficiency and clean renewable energy in Arizona.  It requires school districts to reduce their energy consumption by 10% by July 1, 2011, 15% by July 1, 2015 and 20% by July 1, 2020; and it requires that school districts, universities, community colleges, and state agencies purchase 10 percent of their energy from renewable and nonpolluting energy sources.  The bill gives schools flexibility to use the dollars they save on utilities to pay for capital investments that would help save energy.   It requires state agencies to reduce energy use by 20% by 2015 and 30% by 2020. (The baseline year remains fiscal year 2001-2002.) HB2766 also makes changes to Arizona’s procurement code to provide for Energy Performance Contracting. 

HB2766 requires that the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality in cooperation with the Department of Weights and Measures conduct a study on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from fuels.  It includes a statewide standard to reduce idling of vehicles with diesel engines to no more than five minutes in a 60-minute period and also a section to limit school bus idling on the premises unless it is necessary for health, safety or maintenance.  Limiting school bus idling will both better protect the health of the children and limit emissions. 

HB2766 includes a renewable energy standard and requires that 15% of the electricity come from renewable by 2025 (not all utilities including Salt River Project are regulated by the Arizona Corporation Commission) and a limited net metering provision.  Unfortunately, the definition of renewable was completely removed, so this provision is unlikely to have any real impact other than sending a message. 

The bill requires that multifamily housing constructed with funds through the Department of Housing meet Energy Star or equivalent energy efficiency standards in order to reduce energy consumption and lower utility bills for the people who rent them.  It establishes reporting requirements for energy efficiency relative to new construction and includes voluntary goals there as well.  This means there are no new requirements for new construction to be more efficient, which is unfortunate.  The bill establishes appliance standards for four additional products including pool pumps – these are not covered by the federal standards or in current Arizona law.   

 

Status

It is really too bad that they would not move this through the senate.  The bill should have been heard weeks earlier and it came down to the last day.

Action Needed

No action is needed as the session is over and the bill is dead.  You might express your disappointment to Senator Tim Bee and the Senate leadership for failing to bring this to the floor while fiddling around instead with the marriage amendment.

More information

Click on HB2766 to view a copy of the bill and a history of how it faired.

Contact

Sandy Bahr at (602) 253-8633 or sandy.bahr@sierraclub.org for more information.

Background

Arizona is frequently at or near the top in population growth in our country.  In addition to the many other challenges this rapid growth presents – air and water quality impacts, overcommitted water supplies, and loss of wildlife habitat – the rapid growth also has increased demand for electricity.  Most of our electricity is generated from coal and nuclear, but there is also a significant dependency on natural gas.  With the enormous growth in population and this growth in demand, our state will see more pollution, more power lines and power plants, and more greenhouse gas emissions, unless we invest in energy efficiency and clean renewable energy sources.

Investing in renewable energy sources and energy efficiency will not only curb global warming and protect the environment - it will lower consumer energy bills, spur economic development and create new jobs.

Twenty-two states, including Arizona, now require local utility companies to derive a specified percentage of energy from renewable sources – solar, wind, geothermal, etc.  While other utilities in Arizona are required to generate 15 percent of their energy from renewables by 2025, Salt River Project (SRP) does not, because it is not regulated by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC).  The Legislature can and should require this of SRP, however.  It is only fair and it is important for moving our state forward relative to renewable energy.  Currently, most of SRP’s renewable portfolio is hydro-power from older dams.  They also put efficiency in that mix to increase the percentage.  Neither of these is allowed in the ACC’s rule.  SRP should make the same commitment as the other Arizona utilities and all utilities should make an additional commitment to investing in energy efficiency. 

Uniform net metering provisions at both the Arizona Corporation Commission and in the Legislature that ensure that all consumers are fairly compensated for energy delivered to the utility will help encourage investment in distributed energy sources such as solar photovoltaic systems.  Customers should not be compensated at a much lower rate than for the energy they generate for the grid.   

Investing in energy efficiency will help us use less energy – the absolute cleanest form of energy is the energy that is never used.  In Arizona, we can get the biggest bang for our buck by setting standards for efficiency to encourage high performance buildings.  Ensuring that a significant portion of new home and commercial building construction is more efficient than code and setting a date by which we will achieve that will provide enormous benefits to our state and reduce our energy consumption.

 

     
     

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