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Arizona Looks to Renewables for Economic Growth

Renewable energy has strong industry potential in Arizona, and the state could become a leader in the industry with the help of a national renewable electricity standard (RES). Energy Analyst Jeff Deyette from The Union of Concerned Scientists released the analysis results of an energy study at the Southwest Renewable Energy Conference.

Cambridge, Massachusetts – August 10, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] The RES achieves cost savings by reducing the demand for natural gas. A national RES is a similar policy goal to the one adopted last month by the Western Governors’ Association of developing 30,000 MW of renewable energy by 2015. “Arizona can harness its tremendous renewable energy potential to benefit the entire state,” Deyette said. As far as Arizona is concerned, an increase in the use of wind, solar, and other renewable energy sources in the country could create an estimated 3,900 new highly skilled jobs in the state. Jobs would provide a significant source of new income for rural economies, and help to save consumers money on their energy bills as the use of renewable energy increases. Capital investments of up to US$ 1.6 billion, and $1.6 billion in savings on consumer energy bills could be achieved by enacting an RES to require 20 percent of the nation’s electricity be produced from renewable sources by 2020. “Arizona should be a national leader on renewable energy. The state is currently producing less than one-half of one percent of its electricity from non-hydro renewable energy when much more is possible,” said Craig Cox, Executive Director of the Western Business Coalition for New Energy Technologies. “By supporting a national renewable electricity standard, the Congressional delegation can provide the state with safe and reliable domestic energy sources while ensuring cleaner air and water for everyone.” Property tax revenues could increase by as much as $115 million, landowner income could increase by a total of $20 million, and 2.6 times more jobs could be produced if the state and nation invest in renewable energy over natural gas or coal fired power plants, according to the study. Nationally, the consumer savings would be nearly $13.8 billion.