What would happen if we turned on our light switch or opened our faucet and nothing happened? Water and Energy may not be making the headlines, like illegal immigration is, but they are vitally important.

That is why I have brought together all the major energy producers in Arizona, solar representatives, staff from the Governor’s office and Corporation Commission, and several other legislators to discuss the long-range plan for energy in Arizona.  I want to ensure that Arizona has enough low-cost energy and water for our future needs.   I’m excited about our discussions so far and see good things coming from the group.

In an endeavor to learn as much as I can about the subject, I’ve recently attended a meeting with U.S. Senator Jon Kyl and water experts to discuss the necessity of considering water usage when determining energy sources for our future.  Some forms of energy generation take more water than others and we need to ensure that our limited water supply is wisely used.

As part of my learning experience, I recently toured Palo Verde Nuclear Plant which employees 3,000, the SRP water shed, a Tessera solar dish facility in Peoria, Solon-a solar panel manufacturing plant in Tucson, looked at a PV Solar system at Davis-Monthan AFB, and will be touring Central Arizona Project’s water delivery system, and both a natural gas and coal generating facility.

It’s important that Arizona continues to produce inexpensive base-load energy that is available at all times of the day.  Right now most of that base-load energy is produced with nuclear, coal, and natural gas. If the present federal administration continues its mandates to make coal too expensive to compete, our state must be prepared.  Right now the EPA’s threat to the Navajo coal generating plant may not only increase utility prices, but increase our water rates, since its electricity is used to move water into the valley.

When analyzing energy sources we must also look at the cost.  Right now nuclear and hydro-electric energy cost the least to produce. Next is coal, then natural gas.  Solar costs 15-17 times more than nuclear, but the hope is that competition and technology will reduce the cost.

If you would like to tour Palo Verde Nuclear Plant or talk more about energy issues, please contact me at 602-926-5413.

Energy and Water are vitally important to our state.  Let’s work together to ensure Arizona’s prosperous future.

State Representative Debbie Lesko

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