PHOENIX - I don’t agree with all aspects of the Inflation Reduction Act, but I do believe in reducing electric utility bills for Arizona consumers in all forms.
I believe some portions of the Inflation Reduction Act can help to reduce the price of electricity for Arizona ratepayers. These include portions related to domestic energy production and the mining of critical minerals and metals, like lithium and copper, which are essential to the clean energy transition.
It also includes portions that provide investment and production tax credits for new and existing clean energy resources, which can help to reduce the cost of electricity for Arizona ratepayers.
We must support efforts to reshore our American mining and manufacturing industries to support the low-cost production of new energy technologies, like electric vehicles, batteries, and solar cells. These depend on critical minerals that can be mined right here in the Western United States.
In the United States, we can mine and manufacture the resources necessary to support a 21st Century energy economy. And we can do it more sustainably and with better technology, quality, and workplace standards than any other country. But federal regulations are getting in the way of siting new energy production facilities and mining operations in the West.
We need new transmission lines to enable and expand wholesale energy markets in the West and support the affordable transition to clean energy. Sharing diverse energy resources, like wind, solar, and hydroelectric, across western states, like Arizona, Oregon, and Wyoming, has the potential to save billions of dollars for electric utility customers in the West. But the ability to move power across vast distances depends on the construction of new transmission lines.”
Due to the amount of federal land in the West, building new transmission lines is extremely time consuming and costly, sometimes taking many years. Permitting reform is necessary to ensure the cost of power remains affordable for Arizonans.
Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act to reduce inflationary pressures on American consumers, including for the price of gas and electricity. But these provisions will not be felt immediately, or at all, if they are not properly applied.
Congress also promised to address permitting reform upon the passage of its Inflation Reduction Act. Congress must keep its promise.
To ensure that the Inflation Reduction Act provides the financial relief that Congress and its proponents advertised to the American people, the financial benefits must flow to ratepayers. This means lower capital costs, purchased power prices, and electric utility bills for customers, especially if the projects that take advantage of these credits depend on ratepayer funds.
As chair of the Arizona Corporation Commission, I believe we have a duty to ensure that ratepayers see lower costs as a result of the Inflation Reduction Act. As commissioners, I believe we must study these credits thoroughly and determine how, exactly, the investment and production tax credits provided by the Inflation Reduction Act should be applied to Commission policies and procedures.
With that, I am requesting that our regulated utilities communicate with the Commission in docket number E-99999A-22-0046 (Resource Planning and Procurement for 2021, 2022, and 2023) on their efforts to pursue Inflation Reduction Act funding. I would like to see a coordinated effort to ensure that Arizona ratepayers receive their fair share of the federal funds.