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Officials: State power demand won't be met if regulation passes

Arizona utilities won't be able to meet summer demand for electricity if an incoming federal air quality regulation on power plants is adopted as it's been proposed, officials said at a Thursday state Legislature field hearing held in Yuma.

Arizona utilities won't be able to meet summer demand for electricity if an incoming federal air quality regulation on power plants is adopted as it's been proposed, officials said at a Thursday state Legislature field hearing held in Yuma.

Two members of the House Committee on Energy, Environment and Natural Resources, Chair Frank Pratt of Casa Grande and Rep. T.J. Shope of Coolidge, were joined by Sen. Lynne Pancrazi of Yuma to hear comments on the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan mandate, which is to be finalized next June and gives Arizona the second-highest goal to reach in the country.

John LeSueur, utilities division director for the Arizona Corporation Commission, said that the state must reduce its carbon dioxide emissions output by 51.7 percent by 2030. That number is based on the assumption the state has unused natural gas generating capacity. But it won't be enough to handle the state's "peaky" power market, he said, and there's no way to store large quantities of energy for later use.

"This says, 'OK, Arizona, what you can do is shutter your coal plants and move everything to natural gas,'"... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Arizona utilities won't be able to meet summer demand for electricity if an incoming federal air quality regulation on power plants is adopted as it's been proposed, officials said at a Thursday state Legislature field hearing held in Yuma.

Two members of the House Committee on Energy, Environment and Natural Resources, Chair Frank Pratt of Casa Grande and Rep. T.J. Shope of Coolidge, were joined by Sen. Lynne Pancrazi of Yuma to hear comments on the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan mandate, which is to be finalized next June and gives Arizona the second-highest goal to reach in the country.

John LeSueur, utilities division director for the Arizona Corporation Commission, said that the state must reduce its carbon dioxide emissions output by 51.7 percent by 2030. That number is based on the assumption the state has unused natural gas generating capacity. But it won't be enough to handle the state's "peaky" power market, he said, and there's no way to store large quantities of energy for later use.

"This says, 'OK, Arizona, what you can do is shutter your coal plants and move everything to natural gas,'" LeSueur said. "The problem is the EPA looks at quantities on an annual basis and not an hourly or minute-by-minute basis."

Thirty-six percent of Arizona's power currently comes from coal-fired plants, he said, versus 29 percent for nuclear, 27 percent from natural gas, 6 percent from hydroelectric sources and about 1.5 percent from solar and wind combined. Yet the rule in its current form sets lower bars for states that are much more coal-dependent, including Utah and Colorado.

Russ Jones of Yuma, a former state representative and current member of the Arizona Power Plant Authority board, said a potentially decades-long drought isn't a good time to talk about policies that could increase the need to rely on aquatic sources for power.

"We can't force more water into Lake Mead; that's something for the guy up there to do. We can pray for more rain and more water," he said. "If prayer doesn't work, I think we need a little more pragmatism about this whole issue and not get into something like this at a time when we're particularly vulnerable."

Marvin Merlette of Yuma was the most vociferous opponent to the rule at the hearing, disputing the science tying carbon dioxide emissions to disastrous levels of global climate change and calling it "an assault on the economic viability of this nation."

"Arizona's legislative and executive branches should join with like-minded states to seek legislation to rein in and emasculate this rogue federal agency, while also bringing lawsuits if the EPA attempts to enforce this rule," he said.

Opponents and even supporters of the EPA rule say the mandates could lead to more expensive electricity, but there are few estimates of how much of an impact they would have.

Arizona Public Service is Yuma County's largest electric provider, with about 75,000 customers. APS spokesman Steven Gotfried said there's no estimate on how the EPA rule could affect electric rates. "We're really more focused on getting our comments in now. Once the rule is finalized and we know what the goal is and how we're going to meet it, we'll have a better idea of the cost."

The Legislature's role in the process will be to authorize the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to negotiate a less stringent mandate for the state, and decide whether to have the ADEQ enforce whatever standards are arrived at. It could also vote to challenge the law in court.

Pratt and Shope, both Republicans, and Democrat Pancrazi all said they're worried about the rule and its potential effect on the state.

"It is a huge concern, the EPA rule change, and we all need to enlighten them together," Pancrazi said.


Source: http://www.yumasun.com/news...

OCT 2 2014
http://www.windaction.org/posts/41376-officials-state-power-demand-won-t-be-met-if-regulation-passes
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