- The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that the Mohave Electric Cooperative could meet part of its renewable-energy mandate by burning trash to generate electricity. The court rejected the Sierra Club's arguments that the Arizona Corporation Commission acted illegally in allowing it.
- If the Court of Appeals ruling is not overturned, it clears the way for Mohave Electric to meet part of its renewable-energy mandate through power generated from a proposed plant near Surprise, and opens the door for other utilities to propose trash incineration to meet their mandates.
- Commission regulations require utilities to get at least 15% of their power from renewable resources by 2025, defined as technology that displaces "conventional energy resources" like natural gas, coal, oil, and uranium. Commissioners also agreed to let utilities impose a surcharge on customers.
Using waste-to-energy technology to reduce the amount of trash heading to landfills has multiple benefits. "If the choice is between landfilling the waste and converting it to energy, it made sense to us to convert it to energy," said Corporation Commission member Bob Stump.
However, Tim Hogan of the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, representing the Sierra Club, argued that the commission's own rules do not allow trash incineration to be considered a renewable-energy resource. Yet, the court said the commission's rules entitle it to issue waivers from its rules for "good cause."
"That’s a black hole," Hogan said. "They just granted a waiver here because they thought it was a good idea. Well, if it’s a good idea, you need to change the rules, not just grant waivers willy-nilly."