Leaders in renewable energy are calling President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord misguided and are vowing to move forward anyway with climate friendly projects and policies.
They argue that Arizona is the sunniest state in the nation and therefore has the most to gain from the move toward renewable energy.
John Mitman, director of development and engineering at Natural Power and Energy, a solar and energy efficiency company in Phoenix, says the economy is moving away from dirty, carbon-generated power – and the future belongs to clean energy.
“It’s a good business decision,” he states. “Obviously, people want to support the environment, but it also makes economic sense to install solar and also to move toward energy efficiency just to save dollars.”
Statistics show the economy can benefit as well. The Department of Energy estimates that 2.6 million Americans, including more than 51,000 Arizonans already work in clean energy jobs.
Solar jobs are growing 17 times faster than the economy as a whole, and wind turbine service technicians comprise the fastest growing job category in the U.S.
The mayors of Phoenix and Tucson signed a letter that commits them to the emissions reduction goals outlined in the Paris agreement.
Mitman says he also is encouraged by Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton’s moves toward sustainability.
“The transportation efficiency is a really big thing for them, and also going carbon neutral in the public facilities, so I think things like that are really positive,” Mitman stats.
However, the Arizona Corporation Commission has proved unambitious when it comes to promoting renewable energy, setting a relatively low renewable portfolio standard goal of 15 percent by 2025.
In December the ACC did away with traditional net metering. That means in the future, utilities will be allowed to pay a very low wholesale rate to customers with solar who want to sell excess power back to the grid. Then the utilities can turn around and sell that electricity to others at the retail rate.
Public News Service – AZ