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Rural renewable energy projects pump billions into Arizona economy

(Facebook Photo/Arizona Public Service - APS)

PHOENIX – A new economic impact report found that renewable energy development activity in rural Arizona contributed more than $9 billion to the state’s economy since the turn of the century.

The report by The Western Way, a group that promotes environmental stewardship through conservative policy, examined the construction of 34 solar and wind energy facilities across rural Arizona between 2001 and 2017.

In addition to a $9.4 billion boost to the economy, the projects created 17,971 jobs with $1.2 billion in wages and resulted in $16.7 million in state and local tax revenues.

“This is becoming a fast-growing and very needed economic growth sector for rural Arizona,” Jaime Molera, Arizona director of The Western Way, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Friday, when the report was released.

The facilities have continued to make a significant impact after construction, according the report, which was prepared by Development Research Partners for The Western Way in partnership with the Yuma Chamber of Commerce.

In 2018, the plants contributed an estimated $63 million to the economy and supported more than 700 jobs with wages totaling more than $33 million.

Molera, said The Western Way believes taking care of the environment and pursuing economic growth aren’t mutually exclusive.

“I think we can work hand in hand between good environmental stewardship but at the same time with really good job creation that will help out Arizona families,” said Molera, who also is a partner with Molera Alvarez, a government affairs and business development firm.

The Western Way only recently became active in the state after launching its Arizona branch last year.

“We’re looking forward to working with our business community, with our political and policy leaders, to continue to advance these types of issues,” Molera said.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Nailea Leon contributed to this report.

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