Renewable Energy Ballot Backers: Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station Not In Jeopardy

By Will Stone
Published: Wednesday, July 25, 2018 - 10:10am
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2018 - 10:12am
The Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station.

Supporters of a renewable energy ballot initiative say Arizona’s only nuclear power plant is not in jeopardy if voters approve the measure in November.

Arizona Public Service has warned that raising Arizona’s clean energy target to 50 percent by 2030 could force the utility to shut down the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station. The ballot measure specifically excludes nuclear power.

But a legal analysis released by the campaign, Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona, finds that isn’t the case.

Seven utilities share ownership of the power plant. APS could only shutter it with unanimous approval from those partners. Retiring the plant early would also need the support of the Arizona Corporation Commission. That’s another unlikely scenario, according to the analysis, because Palo Verde doesn’t emit carbon dioxide and is a reliable, low-cost source of electricity.

APS disagreed with the campaign’s assessments of the nuclear plant’s possible fate, though.

“The laws of physics and economics will force Palo Verde, the country's largest clean-energy producer, out of the mix,” an APS spokesperson said in a statement to KJZZ.

“That is proving unpopular with Arizonans which explains why the campaign has reversed its position and now embraces nuclear energy and its contributions to our community.”

Attorneys Tim Hogan and Samuel Walsh conducted the legal review.

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