As a part of our coverage for the Arizona Corporation Commission race, ScrambleWatch asked Democrat Kara Kelty about the role of the agency in setting policy about clean energy.
Is the free market the proper mechanism to promote cleaner energy or should government be involved?
The problem with allowing clean energy to be determined by the free market is that we don’t put a price tag on tangibles like clean air, clean water; there’s no cost that’s figured in for how many air pollution days there are in Phoenix. We look at supply and demand in the free market economy, but we’re not looking at a return on investment in the long term, in terms of investing in new technology. I also think it’s advantageous to be promoting clean energy to our economic environment because it promotes new jobs.
What do you think of the current Renewable Energy Standard?
As it currently exists, I have some suggestions for altering (the Renewable Energy Standard), but I do support it. I would like to see the renewable energy standard strengthened. I think there should be a decoupling of utility rates and investment in either efficiency at the pump stations or renewable energy. For example, at the city of Flagstaff, we implemented water conservation measures about three years ago. The first thing we noticed when we went to the budget was “Wow, we sold a whole lot less water,” so we had less money in our budget. Now, we are a government agency, but, in terms of private utilities, I think that there needs to be incentives for the utilities to make that switch to clean energy.