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The town of Gilbert recently completed an upgrade to a trail crossing on Recker Road.
In the commentary by Barry Goldwater Jr., “Yet another ‘dark money’ group attacks Arizona solar,” printed in the Dec. 7 East Valley Tribune, he makes a false claim that “rooftop solar represents the only real competition utilities have ever faced.”
There is no shortage of “dark money” groups willing to do the bidding of utility monopolies such as Arizona Public Service (APS). The 60 Plus Association, The Free Enterprise Club, and Arizonans for Jobs hide behind conservative-sounding names while arguing against energy choice and energy independence. Add one more group willing to do the bidding of utility monopolies. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance, based in Virginia, seemed compelled to write a guest editorial published Nov. 30 in the East Valley Tribune, which slams solar power.
Zaharis Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Scott Ritter posed a question to his students: What could they do to improve the lighting near the parking lot at their school in Mesa that would be efficient and environmentally responsible?
“Buyer beware” is always a good rule of thumb when weighing some “deal” that seems too good to be true. But it should be “taxpayer beware” or “ratepayer beware” when the “deal” in question involves a solar power system, since the bargain being offered often involves pilfering from one pocket (taxpayers) to fill another (solar power companies).
I recently attended a solar energy roundtable event at Arizona State University. As someone with interest in the technical possibilities of solar, I appreciated that much of the discussion focused on the solar potential in Arizona. A few days later, Environment Arizona released a report, “Star Power: The Growing Role of Solar Energy in Arizona,” which explains that solar power is actually growing fast enough here in the state to make the goal of 25 percent solar by 2025 readily achievable.
PHOENIX (AP) — Republican candidates Tom Forese and Doug Little have won the two spots on the powerful Arizona Corporation Commission.
Solar energy as a whole here in Arizona is growing rapidly. In 2013, Arizona installed 701 MW of solar electric capacity, ranking it second nationally. Even though Arizona schools have the third-highest photovoltaic capacity for solar energy in the country, the sky’s the limit on our full potential. In fact, Arizona still only gets 2 percent of its energy from the sun, despite having the highest potential for solar energy in the country.
Two Republicans and a pair of Democrats are seeking seats on the Arizona Corporation Commission in Tuesday’s election.
The Daily News-Sun asked them to comment on the top issues facing the ACC.
Name: Sandra Kennedy
• There is no longer a consumer advocate on the commission.
• I want to restore an emphasis on creating solar energy jobs.
Name: Doug Little
Occupation: Former computer software industry expert
• The aging water infrastructure in many communities.
• The negative impact on the economy associated with potentially significant increases in the cost of energy associated with the implementation of proposed EPA mandates.
I am committed to be the champion of the ratepayer and work to ensure that all Arizonans have access to clean reliable energy and water at the lowest possible price. We will achieve this with a balanced energy portfolio that leverages all of the different types of energy generation in the most cost-effective fashion.
Name: Jim Holway
Occupation: Land use and water resources planner
• We must ensure Arizona will have reliable and affordable water and power in an era of increasing costs, ongoing droughts and greater reliance on intermittent renewable supplies, changing technology and more stringent environmental controls.
Specific actions include: utility resource plans that address Arizona’s future uncertainty and changing needs; support for solar energy innovation, production and jobs in Arizona while also utilizing our coal, nuclear and natural gas resources; and assisting investments in conservation and efficiency.
• The current debate about solar energy in general and the new solar (net metering) tax on residential customers in particular. The ACC should commission an objective, long-term and comprehensive economic study looking at the costs and benefits of not only solar and other renewable supplies, but for other energy supplies as well.
Name: Tom Forese
Occupation: Current state legislator, owner of the Hive.
• We have nine different departments setting the price for utilities and we need to have balance to keep rates low as possible.
• I’m looking to keep things safe and fair but keep costs as minimal as possible. I have a voting record against unneccesary regulations and tax increases. My commitment is to find the balance. My background is technology and I think we’ll see amazing things for solar. We don’t want to harm the solar industry or the businesses. There’s balance in both areas.
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — The number of people who died trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border has dropped to the lowest level in 15 years as more immigrants turned themselves in to authorities in Texas and fewer took their chances with the dangerous trek across the Arizona desert.
The U.S. government recorded 307 deaths in the 2014 fiscal year that ended in September — the lowest number since 1999. In 2013, the number of deaths was 445.
The Border Patrol's Rio Grande Valley sector finished the 2014 budget year with 115 deaths, compared with 107 in the Tucson sector, according to figures obtained by The Associated Press. It marks the first time since 2001 that Arizona has not been the deadliest place to cross the border.
Arizona has long been the most dangerous border region because of triple-digit temperatures, rough desert terrain and the sheer volume of immigrants coming in to the state from Mexico. But more immigrants are now entering through Texas and not Arizona, driven by a surge of people from Central America.
The Tucson and Rio Grande Valley both saw their numbers of deaths decline from 2013, although Arizona's drop was more precipitous.
Border enforcement officials say the lower numbers are in part due to increased rescue efforts as well as a Spanish-language media campaign discouraging Latin Americans from walking across the border.
Tucson Sector Division Chief Raleigh Leonard says the addition of 10 new rescue beacons that were strategically placed in areas where immigrants traverse most often has been a factor in the decrease in deaths.
"I think we can all agree that crossing the border is an illegal act, but nothing that should be assigned the penalty of death," Leonard said in an interview.
Immigrant rights advocates are skeptical that it is solely the Border Patrol's efforts contributing to the decrease in deaths.
"At best, what the Border Patrol is accomplishing is a geographical shift in where these deaths are happening — rather than adequately responding to the scale of the crisis," said Geoffrey Boyce, a border enforcement and immigration researcher at the University of Arizona and a volunteer with the Tucson-based nonprofit No More Deaths.
The Rio Grande Valley sector was flooded with a surge in unaccompanied minors and families with children who turned themselves in at border crossings in Texas. Most were from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, where gang violence and a poor economy have driven out huge numbers of people. That surge has dwindled recently, however, as U.S. and Central American authorities have launched a public relations campaign warning parents against sending their children to the U.S.
Meanwhile, the Tucson Sector, once the busiest in the nation, has seen a steep decline in border crossers. Fewer Mexicans are crossing into the U.S. as the economy here has faltered and drug violence at home has improved.
The Border Patrol also responds to hundreds of cases each year of immigrants who need to be rescued while crossing the desert, long an issue in the Arizona desert. The Border Patrol conducted 509 rescues in the 2014 fiscal year in the Tucson sector, compared to 802 in 2013.
Some of the rescues are made with the help of beacons that were activated 142 times this year. The beacons are 30-feet tall, solar-powered and have sun reflectors and blue lights on top that are visible for 10 miles. The beacons also have signs in three languages directing users to push a red button that sends out a signal for help. Agents respond usually within 10 minutes to an hour.
The agency has a team dedicated solely to rescues, called Border Patrol Search, Trauma, and Rescue.
Agents in this elite group spend their days searching for immigrants and responding when one seeks help. They assist not only those who cross the border in search for jobs, but also drug mules and smugglers who become injured or dehydrated in the summer heat.
It was only 10 a.m. and already 95 degrees on a day in late June when the unit's agents provided medical assistance to a 28-year-old man suspected of smuggling drugs near Sells, Arizona.
The thin man had an ID from El Salvador and said he lived in Tucson. He oscillated between Spanish and English, but his message was the same: He was in extreme pain.
The agents gave him a gallon of a sports beverage. He was to drink it slowly, they told him, or else it would make him sick. Next, they connected a saline bag intravenously and checked his vitals.
The agents monitored him and re-examined his vitals, concluding that he wasn't dehydrated but suffering from muscle fatigue. Minutes later, agents who used a drug-sniffing K-9 to search the area found several bundles of marijuana and another suspected smuggler.
The men were arrested on suspicion of being in the country illegally, but were not charged with smuggling because the loads of marijuana were not found on them.
"To us, it could be a mule, an illegal immigrant. They're all the same. They're human beings," Leonard said.
Q. Why are you running
Q. Why are you running?
Avnet’s Tempe facility recently turned on a new 1,000 kilowatt solar project that should provide much of the facility’s power.
In a sometimes testy exchange, candidates Arizona Corporation Commission traded barbs Monday night on whether someone should force the state's largest electric utility to say whether it's putting money into the race and how much.
The race for who could be a heartbeat away from governor is being financed largely by a “dark money” group that will not disclose its donors.
The East Valley Institute of Technology is still accepting enrollment for the 2014-15 school year in most classes, including the new Future Engineers program at the East Campus.
Solar companies want an Arizona court to overturn state tax officials' decision that property taxes must be paid on leased rooftop panels that produce electricity.
I am disheartened to hear of the Arizona Department of Revenue’s recent decision to promote a new tax on Arizona homeowners who take advantage of solar energy.
Though the calendar won’t announce the official arrival of summer for a few more weeks, the Arizona heat already is settling in. Blasting the A/C may sound like a great plan, but it’s not so great for your energy use — or your wallet. From the air conditioner to the washing machine, a few adjustments can make a huge difference on your home and the environment. The grass will always be greener on your side of the fence with a little inspiration from these energy-saving tips.
Two Republicans hoping to sit on the Arizona Corporation Commission lashed out Wednesday at a decision by the state Department of Revenue to impose property taxes on leased solar panels.
Fire departments in the Valley deal with numerous challenges every day, but a new challenge — dealing with an increasing number of residential solar systems in the state — demands extra training and increased vigilance.
Vivint Solar, one of the largest providers of solar systems in the nation, is setting up two offices in the Valley — one in Phoenix to serve the West Valley, and one in Mesa for the East Valley, creating about 130 jobs total.
Calling it unfair — and fearing loss of business — the state's solar industry called on Gov. Jan Brewer on Wednesday to overrule a decision by her Department of Revenue that the rooftop panels they lease are taxable.
Mesa recently opened the largest solar facility in city history at the Red Mountain Library, 635 N. Power Road.