Arizonans to decide on renewable energy as Prop 127 on November ballot

Powerful vote renewable energy question on November ballot

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Arizona Secretary of State says Arizona's clean energy initiative has enough valid signatures to quality for the November 6, 2018 ballot.

It has been assigned the number Proposition 127 and is called "Clean Energy for A Healthy Arizona."

If passed, it will require the state's utilities to generate half their energy from renewables such as solar, wind or other technologies.

"This is a kind of a once in a lifetime change that we're talking about," said Louis Woofenden, a partner in Net Zero Solar. "Taking power for consumers on their energy choices."

Even though solar has been promoted in Arizona for decades, as of 2016, it still provided for only six percent of the state's needs.

Proposition 127 will be a giant leap forward.

"It's a significant target but it is doable," he said. "It's about time we move ahead."

Some utilities, most obviously Arizona Public Service in Phoenix, are already spending heavily to convince voters otherwise.

The utilities say it will raise costs but supporters disagree.

The "Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona" website says it will create thousands of new jobs and save consumers billions of dollars.

One of those who has already saved money is Russell Janus, a retired pilot who lives on Tucson's west side. He installed a $45,000 solar system nine years ago but after rebates, it only cost him $14,000.

"They told me it would take seven years to pay for itself but it was more like five years," he said. "I don't know why more people don't do it."

Most of the incentives he used to reduce the cost have disappeared but it is thought the initiate may help bring them back.

If the utilities need to generate half their energy from renewables, they may need to form partnerships with consumers to reach the goal.

"Most importantly what voters and consumers want, that's what we'll be finding out," Woofenden said. "In Arizona do they think it's important that we move our energy future to renewables."

Janus thinks so.

"I think it's a good idea," he said. "Why waste all of this sunshine."

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