A decade of progress positions Arizona to take renewable energy to the next level

Arizona ranks in the top ten in four renewable energy categories

Environment Arizona Research & Policy Center

Contact: Bret Fanshaw, 602-252-9225, [email protected]

Since 2008, Arizona has seen a 185-fold increase in the amount of electricity it gets from the sun, ranking second for solar growth in a new report released today by Environment Arizona Research & Policy Center. The state also ranks in the top ten for energy efficiency, battery storage and electric vehicles.

“Every day, there’s more evidence that a cleaner economy powered by renewable energy is within our reach,” said Bret Fanshaw with Environment Arizona Research & Policy Center. “The progress we’ve made in the last decade on renewable energy and technologies like battery storage and electric cars should give Arizonans the confidence that we can take clean energy to the next level.”

The report, Renewables on the Rise, provides a state-by-state assessment of the growth of key technologies needed to power the nation with clean, renewable energy.

Arizona ranks highly in a number of categories in the report:

  • 2nd for growth of solar energy generation

  • 6th for electricity saved as a portion of retail sales

  • 6th for utility scale battery storage additions

  • 9th for the number of registered electric vehicles (per registered vehicle)

  • 28th for growth of wind energy generation

Nationally, the U.S. produces nearly six times as much energy from the sun and the wind as we did in 2008. At the same time, the average American uses nearly 8 percent less energy than a decade ago.

“Over the last decade, key clean energy technologies have spread across the country and become core parts of our energy system,” said Gideon Weissman of Frontier Group, report co-author. “In 2017, nine states produced at least 20 percent of their electricity with wind and solar power. Back in 2008, not a single state was even close.”

The report comes as voters may consider a citizen initiative by Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona on the ballot this November that would set the state’s renewable energy standard at 50 percent by 2030.  

At the same time, Arizona Corporation Commissioner Andy Tobin has put forward a proposal for the state to reach 80 percent “clean” energy by 2050, including large goals for energy storage and electric vehicles. His proposal includes nuclear power, which is largely not considered to be renewable because it relies on uranium for fuel and creates toxic waste.

“Arizona is on its way to powering its needs with renewable energy from the sun and the wind, while using less and storing more,” said Fanshaw. “We should seize on this progress and chart a course for Arizona to create a cleaner, greener state both now and into the future.”