The Downballot Races That Could Transform Energy Policy in Arizona and Nebraska

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The energy future of fossil-fuel dependent Phoenix could be reshaped by some clean-energy advocates who just won seats on the board of a public power utility.

When it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and watershed protection, several downballot elections this year in a handful of states could have a major effect in the transition away from fossil fuel.

The media tend to ignore such contests, which attract far fewer voters than big federal and state elections. But board members of public utilities in Arizona and Nebraska are up for election in coming months, and the results of those contests could potentially transform energy policy for millions of Americans.

The elections come amid growing concern about the role of money in such races and in the wake of headline-grabbing corruption scandals at utilities across the country. Utility fraud and corruption — in Florida, Illinois, Mississippi, Ohio, and South Carolina — has cost electricity customers at least $6.6 billion, according to an analysis by news nonprofit Floodlight, which noted that “some power companies embrace — or seek to block — the transition away from fossil fuels toward wind, solar, hydrogen, and nuclear, which produce fewer greenhouse gasses.” 04-13-24

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