Creating a successful energy plan for Arizona requires patience, cooperation and strategic focus. The recently released Arizona Energy Roadmap is a critical first phase in a series of actions to help Arizona bolster its energy sector, resulting in future economic growth. For Arizonans, increased economic growth means new higher paying jobs, continued reliable low energy costs, and heightened energy self-sufficiency, among other benefits.
The Arizona Energy Consortium (AEC), through the leadership of Michelle De Blasi and Christopher Davey, developed the Energy Roadmap based on a portfolio of diverse energy sources available in Arizona. The key to the Energy Roadmap is that it is a dynamic document that also provides clarity and certainty for development of the industry. The AEC is collaborating with industry initiatives to pull together the various initiatives being pursued by other organizations. “It is critical to have this collaborative effort to ensure there is a united message when implementing the various goals and objectives that make up the Energy Roadmap,” said Davey.
Supporting The Energy Industry
The Energy Roadmap promotes a strong commitment to the long-term implementation of policies supporting the energy industry, with the ultimate vision for Arizona to achieve the following vision over the next ten years:
Arizona is the energy hub of the Southwest, with a diverse energy mix supporting reliable transmission, a strong base of manufacturing facilities, increased numbers of higher wage jobs, and world-class research institutions, resulting in increased economic development for the state and region.
A key component of realizing this vision emphasized in the Energy Roadmap is consideration of the environment. While it is important for energy to be reliable, affordable and sustainable in the long term, Arizona’s natural resources must be preserved. “Since Arizona is one of the most arid regions in the United States with precious water reserves, a balancing act is required when developing energy generation, transmission, fuels and manufacturing in our desert environment,” stated De Blasi.
Messaging is also a critical aspect of Arizona’s energy industry development, particularly because the industry’s messaging drives policy which then provides the framework for success. Arizona’s growing energy industry includes a diverse set of energy sources, including renewable energy. The Energy Roadmap’s key messages for more fully developing Arizona’s energy industry include:
- Job creation
- Energy security
- Diversification of Arizona’s energy mix
- Economic development
- Development of energy exports / regional development
- Capitalization on Arizona’s renewable industry opportunities
- More stable priced energy
- Creation of industry / supply chain cluster through enhanced demand
Arizona Energy Roadmap Focus Areas
“To be successful, the energy industry message needs to be clear and foster certainty within the industry. Arizona’s long-term energy plan must be inclusive of all energy resources,” says Davey. “The industry must emphasize these key messaging points for Arizona to become a greater energy leader for the region with all of the resources Arizona has to offer,” adds De Blasi.
To achieve its mission, the Energy Roadmap provides the following areas in which Arizona’s energy industry must focus and excel:
|Regional Approach||Greater reliability, security, affordability and potential for new energy markets|
|Policy||Implementation of consistent policies supporting the energy industry, which requires meaningful collaboration between federal, state and local governments|
|Environment||Consideration and protection of Arizona’s arid environment in energy generation|
|Messaging||Development of a cohesive narrative defining Arizona’s energy industry as an enticing economic opportunity for the state, while enhancing energy self-sufficiency and national security|
|Finance||Policy certainty along with innovative capital structures and an effort to educate the financial markets as to the opportunities in Arizona to provide greater confidence to the capital markets|
|Incentives||Production based incentives that reward completion of projects|
|Permitting||Standardization of permitting requirements and timelines to provide certainty and clarity to promote project development|
|Siting/Public Lands||Institution of legislative policies that better support energy generation projects|
|Generation||Diversification of Arizona’s energy portfolio, focused siting and permitting initiatives|
|Energy Clusters||Recognition that energy generation drives demand for manufacturing|
|Transmission||Development and standardization of transmission processes to better provide Arizona access to new energy markets and more efficient use of existing transmission system|
|Energy Efficiency||Educational efforts to encourage energy efficiency and conservation for both residential and commercial users and builders|
|Technology and Innovation||Elevation of Arizona’s intellectual capacity in conjunction with the universities through research and development, as well as education and expansion of energy related workforce|
|Transportation Fuels||Smart planning and adequate investment in transportation can help Arizona reduce its reliance on transportation fuels and stimulate regional economic growth|