State lawmakers killed a proposal Wednesday to create a new level of government to set up "power parks" around the state as the home for new solar, wind and nuclear power plants.
The 4-3 vote by the House Ways and Means Committee came over the arguments of Rep. Warde Nichols, R-Gilbert, who said setting up such a special authority would "put out the welcome mat" for companies to come here and build their generators. Nichols said HB 2090 would create both construction and operating jobs as well as provide clean sources of energy for Arizona.
But the plan Nichols envisioned was more complicated than that, including provisions to give the power plants that built in these special parks a property tax break to help repay investors. Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Gilbert, said the legislation needed more work.
Rep. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, said he might have voted for it had the special benefits been limited to solar and wind plants. But he did not want to encourage more nuclear power plants in Arizona until problems dealing with radioactive waste have been worked out.
Nichols said waste from the latest generation of nuclear plants is just a fraction of what is now produced from the 20-year-old Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station west of Phoenix.
He also said while wind and solar are important, they are not as reliable as sources of energy as nuclear power plants.