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Groups Continue to Debate Arizona Clean Energy Ballot Initiative

Arizonans are being asked to decide a ballot initiative that would boost renewable energy use. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports, Proposition 127 would mandate half the state’s electricity come from wind and solar by 2030. 

The initiative would amend the state constitution, and proponents say it’ll mean less pollution and cleaner air, and could even decrease utility rates.

"Renewable energy is cheaper here in Arizona than the dirty sources of energy utility companies are relying on like coal and gas. Solar, in fact, is the cheapest source of energy you can produce in Arizona. The fact that we get only 6 percent of our energy from solar, it’s just far too little," says DJ Quinlan is with Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona, which supports the measure.

Quinlan disputes claims made by opponents like Arizona Public Service Company that say the measure would force the closure of coal and nuclear plants.

But Matthew Benson with the No on 127 campaign says the measure will hurt the state’s economy.

"For the average Arizona family it’s estimated Prop 127 is going to increase your utility bills a thousand dollars a year. So that is a significant cost, especially for seniors, low income families and small businesses," he says.

Benson says changes to renewable standards should be made by the Corporation Commission. The board has already set a goal of increasing clean energy in the state to 15 percent by 2025.

Ryan Heinsius was named interim news director and managing editor in January 2024. He joined KNAU's newsroom as an executive producer in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.
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