Local elections could reshape Phoenix's energy policy

In a pivotal turn for Phoenix's energy future, local elections could usher in a wave of clean energy reforms, challenging the city's longstanding reliance on fossil fuels.

Marcus Baram reports for Capital & Main.


In short:

  • Upcoming utility board elections in Arizona and Nebraska could significantly influence America's energy landscape, pivoting toward sustainable sources.
  • Corruption scandals and the influence of money in utility elections have spotlighted the need for transparency and change.
  • Clean-energy advocates aim to transform the Salt River Project, advocating for increased solar energy use and democratic voting reforms in utility elections.

Key quote:

"We’re looking to make history. We want to get serious about greenhouse gas reductions, set retirement dates for Salt River Project coal plants and increase solar in the district.”

— Lauren Kuby, former vice mayor of Tempe, Arizona

Why this matters:

Local politics can both facilitate and impede progress. On one hand, supportive leadership can drive the adoption of renewable energy through favorable policies and investments. On the other, opposition from entrenched interests, such as fossil fuel companies or sectors dependent on traditional energy sources, can slow or derail initiatives.

In Chicago, utilities like Peoples Gas are devoting more and more funds to over-budget infrastructure projects that will continue their reliance on fossil fuels.

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