Arizona Supreme Court Denies Goldwater Institute's Appeal in Lawsuit Over REST Rules

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[author: Bingham, Matt]

Without comment, the Arizona Supreme Court yesterday declined to hear an appeal of the Court of Appeals' decision in the legal battle over the state's Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff (REST) rules.  The appeal was sought by the Goldwater Institute after the both the Superior Court and the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC).  The primary issue in the case was whether the ACC's adoption of the REST rules was within the agency's constitutional authority to regulate the rates charged by private utility companies.  Because it declined to hear the appeal without any comment, it can fairly be implied that the Supreme Court agrees with the lower court's decision.

The REST rules, among other things, require regulated utilities to obtain a certain percentage of their retail electricity sales from renewable resources.  The required percentage increases from 1.25% in 2006 (the year the rules were adopted) to 15% in 2025.  The rules also require that a certain percentage of the required amount of renewable energy -- 30% from 2011 on -- be generated from distributed (i.e., on-site) sources.  Of course, the REST rules also authorize electrical utilities to charge their customers higher rates in order to pay for the costs of complying.

We blogged about the Court of Appeals' decision here.

See the Goldwater Institute's summary of the case here.

Read news coverage of the Supreme Court's ruling here and here.