Absent Minded

Arizona Sen. John McCain complained today that Congress needed to get back to work to do something about high gas prices.

“I call on Sen. Obama to call on Congress to come back into town and come back to work, come off their recess, come off their vacation and address the energy challenge to America and not leave until we do,” McCain said at a campaign stop.

That’s a pretty big demand from a guy who, as of last month, had spent all of six days this year voting on Senate business in Washington.

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Sierra Club Endorses Gabby Giffords

The Sierra Club has endorsed Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who is facing Republican Tim Bee in Congressional District 8.

From the Sierra Club release:

The Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club today announced its endorsement of Representative Gabrielle Giffords in the 2008 election.

“We are very pleased to announce today that the Sierra Club officially endorses Gabrielle Giffords for re_election,” said Lynn DeMuth, Political Committee Chair. “She has demonstrated leadership in the effort to support clean, renewable energy and protect Arizona’s wild lands and endangered species habitat. We are confident that Representative Giffords will continue work to protect Arizona’s environment, for our families and for our future.”

In her first term, Representative Giffords has either sponsored or co-sponsored several pieces of legislation to address climate change, water conservation and the preservation of public lands. She has also has fought to ensure an open, transparent and comprehensive evaluation of the proposed Rosemont Mine in Southern Arizona. In addition she voted to revise the outdated and environmentally damaging 1872 Mining Law, as well as to protect the Grand Canyon environs from uranium mining. Her top priority is clean, especially solar, energy.

“I am truly honored to Continue reading

Corporation Commission Weekend!

As you may have noticed, ScrambleWatch is celebrating the campaigns for Arizona Corporation Commission this weekend. In less than a week, early voting begins in the Sept. 2 primary, so we’re introducing you to the eight Republicans and four Democrats running for the ACC’s three open seats.

(Actually, we could only introduce you to three of the four Democrats because one of them, Sam George, can’t seem to return our phone calls. So if you’re looking for someone who’s responsive, he might not be the guy for you.)

Anyway, the biggest issue in the race regards the Arizona Corporation Commission’s policy regarding a “clean energy” portfolio. Here’s how TW’s Josh Garvey, an intern who has been chasing after these candidates, describes the requirement in this week’s print edition:

Besides having the authority to set utility rates, the ACC has created a renewable energy standard that, as it currently stands, will require utility companies to produce 15 percent of their energy by renewable means by 2025.

Kris Mayes, one of the current commissioners and one of the strongest advocates of the standard, contends that the standard will help preserve the environment and lower electricity costs over time.

The standard has been a contested issue and is currently the subject of a lawsuit by the Goldwater Institute, which claims the ACC overstepped its bounds.

So that’s what the ACC candidates are talking about. See where they stand before you cast your vote.

ScrambleWatch Q&A: Democrat Kara Kelty on Renewable Energy Standards

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 Continue reading

ScrambleWatch Q&A: Democrat Paul Newman on Renewable Energy Standards

As a part of our coverage for the Arizona Corporation Commission race, ScrambleWatch asked Democrat Paul Newman 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?

I think that the renewable energy standard that has been in place for a short time is not a pure market vision, but it needs to be there. I totally disagree with the Goldwater Institutes position that it’s unconstitutional. I do believe that there needs to be that incentive to make the public utility companies implement the beginning of Arizona a net export solar state.

What do you think of the current Renewable Energy Standard?

I think it’s a step in the right direction, and what we need to do is keep the feet to the fire of the utility companies and make sure that they implement it. Right now, less than half of a percent is implemented, and it’s now a 15 percent standard. I’m willing to stay with that standard right now, but I want to make sure that the utility companies go in the right direction and implement this standard in a way that will affect rates to a minimal degree.

ScrambleWatch Q&A: Democrat Sandra Kennedy on Renewable Energy Standards

As a part of our coverage for the Arizona Corporation Commission race, ScrambleWatch asked Democrat Sandra Kennedy 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

I think that, at the rate we’re going, if government does not play a significant role, I don’t believe that the providers would actually do this on their own. I think cases have proven that if they wanted to do it they could have done it long before now. So I’m absolutely for government intervention, with setting rules because sadly, it had to be done that way. I’m glad to see that the ACC has taken that step.

What do you think of the current Renewable Energy Standard?

Because of the rules that were set by the ACC, I think the Renewable Energy Standard was a brilliant step, and I commend them for making such a move and setting Arizona up for renewable energy. The goal to get to 15 percent by 2025 is excellent. Arizona is the first of the worst and the last of the best, and we just need to take daily steps to make sure that every provider, every utility company that participates in renewable energy is doing their fair share. I would not increase the percentage, because this is something new. We’ve got to make sure that it’s going to work properly and as we go we can iron out the kinks. But, as far as raising the percentage, I wouldn’t do that.

ScrambleWatch Q&A: Republican Joseph Hobbs on Renewable Energy Standards

As a part of our coverage for the Arizona Corporation Commission race, ScrambleWatch asked Republican Joseph Hobbs 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?

It depends on how you would quantify and classify (government) help. In terms of not providing any roadblocks to the development of good renewable energy sources, I’m very very much in favor of that. In terms of helping with a bully pulpit to promote long term implementation of renewable sources in the state of Arizona, I’m very much in favor of that. We must take advantage of the assets we have in place, all of the sunshine that we have, and develop some viable options based on that. There’s some really positive developments here rather recently, particularly in solar thermal, and wind is also getting to be more viable. I would certainly like to do everything possible to support the development of all of the renewable energy sources. I don’t think there’s a really complete that is in front of everybody today. Hydrogen typically is not on that list. We need lots of power. We need good, safe, dependable sources of power. I’m a big proponent of power, I’m a technical person. I like to get new developments and new products out of the lab and into the practical application.

In terms of the specific renewable energy standard that we have here in Arizona that was adopted back in 2006 on a 4 to 1 vote, that actually was overarching and very cumbersome and I’m not in favor of what it put in place, which is a bunch of mandates. Those mandates are going to require Continue reading