October 15, 2018
$500 to $1,000 higher utility bills for Arizona families, study predicts
Phoenix—In a few short weeks, Arizona voters will choose whether the state constitution should be amended to require private energy utilities to generate at least half their electricity from renewable sources by 2030. But as a new Goldwater Institute study shows, this initiative would drive up energy costs with little to no environmental benefit.
Arizona’s “Clean Energy” Initiative: All Pain and No Gain, the new study by economist Stephen Moore, delves into Arizona’s Proposition 127—the so-called “clean energy” ballot initiative—and how states that have imposed similar renewable energy mandates (REMs) have experienced negative repercussions. “States with stringent REMs, like California, pay 40 to 50 percent higher residential energy rates than states with low or no REMs—which can mean an energy bill difference of around $500 to $1,000 for a middle-class family,” Moore explains. “REMs fall particularly hard on lower-income households, who spend much more of their income on energy bills than do wealthy families. Proposition 127 is really a regressive tax imposed on those who can least afford it.”
As the study shows, Arizona already derives half of its energy from green energy sources, but Proposition 127 would severely limit what those green sources could be. The initiative crowds out two of the cleanest and most affordable forms of energy—natural gas and nuclear power—and instead requires an adaptation to wind and solar power to meet the 50 percent renewable energy threshold. “The only way that Arizona could get to 50 percent wind and solar power would be to sharply reduce nuclear and natural gas usage, so Proposition 127 would essentially impose higher energy costs on Arizonans for a lateral move without having a discernible impact on air quality or greenhouse gas emissions,” Moore said.
In addition to the effect on households, higher utility prices would harm Arizona’s schools, hospitals, and businesses, some of which might choose to move out of the state to areas with lower power costs. Furthermore, Proposition 127 would not be the job-creator that its supporters promise: Jobs that would be “created” from the initiative would be offset by losses in the natural gas and nuclear power sectors. “Steve’s study clearly demonstrates that Proposition 127 is an ill-conceived measure. Importing California-style energy policies to Arizona is simply a bad deal for all Arizonans,” said Goldwater Institute President and CEO Victor Riches.
About the Goldwater Institute
The Goldwater Institute drives results by working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and strengthen the freedom guaranteed to all Americans in the constitutions of the United States and all 50 states. With the blessing of its namesake, the Goldwater Institute opened in 1988. Its early years focused on defending liberty in Barry Goldwater’s home state of Arizona. Today, the Goldwater Institute is a national leader for constitutionally limited government respected by the left and right for its adherence to principle and real world impact. No less a liberal icon than the New York Times calls the Goldwater Institute a “watchdog for conservative ideals” that plays an “outsize role” in American political life.