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Hello everybody. I’m Michael Bryan. I am the first chair and program director of the Democrats of Greater Tucson. I’m hosting this meeting today because our president Larry Bodine’s out of town. Democrats of Greater Tucson is a nonprofit organization that exists in order to bring the voters of Arizona the best information. About our candidates, Democrats specifically. And if you want to join up and support our mission, it’s only $20 a year to join DGT. You can find us on ActBlue. I’ll drop a link to our ActBlue page, where you can sign up to be a member if you’re not already.
So, with that, I’d like to introduce today’s guest and speaker, Jonathon Hill. He’s running for a seat on the Arizona Corporation Commission, often called the fourth branch of Arizona’s government. And Jonathon is running as a clean elections candidate.
So, for the past 15 years, Hill’s worked as an engineer and scientist of the ASU Mars space flight facility, operating ASU’s camera on the NASA Odyssey spacecraft, and ASU is instruments on the Spirit and Opportunity rovers on Mars.
And he’s also provided engineering and scientific support to the University of Arizona’s Osiris Rex asteroid sample return mission and NASA’s clipper mission, which will explore Jupiter’s frozen ocean moons on Europa. After completing his Ph.D. John looks forward to using his unique combinations of engineering and science skills to address more the most pressing issues on his favorite planet, planet earth. Thank you for being here, Dr. Jonathon Hill.
Okay. Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you so much for inviting me and giving me such a warm welcome here today. Especially thanks to Michael for arranging all this. I will start out with a slight correction. Technically I’m not Dr. Hill just yet.
Yeah. The final defense raking over the coals. It’s on the calendar. So, a couple of weeks away, but yeah. So, doctor with an asterisk
Pre-doctor. Yeah. It’s been a long time being pre doctor. Yeah. As Michael said, my name is Jonathon Hill, and I’m running as a clean elections candidate for a seat on the Corporation Commission this year.
And I primarily decided to run just because I’ve always been frustrated that more people with science and engineering backgrounds don’t run for public office. That’s such a critical part of our modern world. Expertise lacking in government, I think, is a shame. And especially in the case of the Corporation Commission, it has so many varied responsibilities that you really need commissioners from a wide variety of backgrounds to help address all that.
But unfortunately, the current group of commissioners is lacking anyone with a strong science or engineering background. And that’s the primary thing that I would hope to bring to the commission is adding a scientist’s and engineer’s perspective to their decision-making process, ensuring that the decisions of the commission are all based in evidence-based science, which unfortunately, I have to say that’s a controversial thing now.
Yeah, as Michael said, I’m an Arizona native currently live in Tempe, where I’ve been since 2000, moved here to go to ASU and been here ever since. I came here to ASU because I was attracted by their strong engineering program. And my eventual hopelessness to become an astronaut that hasn’t happened quite yet.
But I got pretty close. I became a spacecraft engineer at ASU Maher space flight facility which. Build cameras that go to all sorts of planets and asteroids and moons throughout the entire solar system. And since so much. Professional career has really revolved around taking images and looking at images.
As Michael said, my primary job has been working on the Themis camera at ASU, which is orbiting Mars on a NASA satellite called Odyssey. And its main job is to take infrared or temperature pictures of the planet. And that’s what my job is. Organizing, what images are we taking coordinating with all of our scientists around the country and around the world.
I was making sure that we’re taking the right type of data for them. And I’ve done a lot of things in my time at ASU that I’m proud of, but I would say the thing I’m most proud of is I led the effort to develop the first global. Temperature map of Mars, which is what you’re seeing here. This took us 17 years to collect all 24,000 images in it.
The accomplishment I’m most proud about in the 15 years I’ve spent at ASU is I led the effort to develop the first global temperature map of Mars, which is what hopefully you’re seeing right now. This took 17 years to collect all the images of those 24,000 images that we then had to put to.
Like a giant jigsaw puzzle, and like I said, this is the first map of its kind. And in order to help share this with people in a way that would be easier for them to understand for those who don’t look at Mars every day, we actually printed it on this giant vinyl mat that we take around to schools.
And so, we’ve taken this to a couple of dozen schools across Arizona couple in California, in Colorado. And we’ve reached about 8,000 students so far. Unfortunately, COVID put a temporary end to this program, but we’re hoping to pick it back up. Once things settle down. We, right before COVID started, we were able to take it to Washington DC and display it on the national mall.
Not far from the Washington monument because as part of a NASA science celebration and we got to spend the whole weekend there sharing it. People on the national mall, lots of NASA employees, even some congressional staffers, unfortunately, all the congressional visits that ASU had. So kindly arranged for us got canceled last minute because this was actually the weekend that they were writing the resolution to open the presidential impeachment inquiries hearings.
So, then I should specify the first one, the first version, this was 2019, as Michael said, I also spent about four years between. Oh, six and 2010 working on the Mars, rovers spirit and opportunity. And I would have to say that this was one of the biggest life-changing experiences that I’ve had so far, just being able to work every day on Mars vicariously through this little Wall-E, cute Rover was really just a life-changing experience.
And. The thing I’m most proud of there is that I helped with the discovery of this little white patch of soil here, which turns out is the remanence of an ancient hot spring on Mars. If you’ve ever been to Yellowstone, this is like a Mars Yellowstone, and we weren’t able to find any evidence of life with the instruments we had.
But hopefully, it will send either additional rovers or humans in the future, and they can inspect this area in more detail. And then, as we said before, I also work with the ASU instrument development lab building more cameras that are going to go off to different places in the solar system.
And so, this is just a hint of the missions that I’ve country help contribute instruments to off to Mars, Jupiter, the asteroid belts and hopefully many more in the years to come. At this point, you’re probably wondering, why would a Mars geologists engineer be interested in serving on the Corporation Commission?
And I would say that as I’ve near the end of my Ph.D., which is a major turning point in my life, I found my interests shifting again. I’m looking for ways that I can use my engineering and science background to address more pressing problems here on earth that we live on and specifically on a more local level.
And so, I think that’s where the Corporation Commission would begin. Give me an excellent opportunity to do that. And just really briefly, before we get to the questions, I just thought I’d talk about three really issues that I really am passionate about. And I would hope to work on it immediately.
I was elected to the commission. The first one is cybersecurity. If you’ve been watching the movie, the news the last year or two, you’ve probably noticed that these hackings of either power networks or water treatment plants are increasing at a concerning rate. And that’s just because these were never seen as targets before.
And so, you have everyone from the hackers in their parents’ basement, all the way to state-sponsored Russian North Korean, Iranian groups, trying to hack these and affect our daily lives that way. And. That’s something. I feel like I have a lot of experience with these NASA missions.
NASA has been basically under cyber siege for the last 20 plus years. Just constant attacks. And so, we’ve had experience deploying some really robust cyber security protections. And so, then when I see these utility companies, Being taken down by relatively simple things that we have protections against that they’re simply not using.
It’s really frustrating for me. So that’s something I would want the commission to take a larger role in regulating, not it’s, it goes beyond just rates, regulating rates. So, regulating the robustness, the reliability of the entire utility network. And I think that’s something that a lot of progress could be made on in a very short amount of time.
Another issue that I’m really interested in. And I think is a really powerful issue is transmission line construction. It’s unfortunate that the slides aren’t working today because there’s this beautiful map that shows you basically transmission lines that are in various stages of proposals and being built throughout the country. A large number of them are in the desert Southwest.
Unfortunately, a current transmission network is built to go to places that have coal deposits go to places that have natural gas deposits. It’s not necessarily going to the areas that are best for solar or wind generation. And so, if we really want to increase our percentage of those renewable energy sources, we have to build the transmission capacity to get it to our population centers.
And right now, there’s three trends, big transmission line projects in Arizona that are at various stages of approval. And the Corporation Commission doesn’t fully regulate that, but it has a large say. And if I was liked with the commission, I would try to increase the speed of that and try to clear out some of the roadblocks, get those approved.
Because until those transmission lines exist, we won’t be able to build the solar, the wind power plants that we so desperately want. And then the final issue that I sort of have a close connection with is if I was elected to the commission, I would really want to focus on clearing out some of the paperwork and just bureaucratic.
Roadblocks that small nonprofit organizations face. I started a small nonprofit a couple of years ago to hold large stem events. I can think of it as like a comic con, but for stem. And unfortunately, that hasn’t gone well since the last two years, holding large scale indoor events has been extremely unwise.
But I was just surprised at how many roadblocks, the commission. Has in place, their entire system is built around registering these large for-profit entities, but the small little nonprofits come in and a lot of the rules just simply don’t apply to them. But they still have to jump through all those hoops.
And, if you’re just a small profit you want to form in your neighborhood, do either as a political organization or a social work organization or an education. Organization, you shouldn’t have to go out and hire lawyers to help guide you through this process. That’s not in your budget if you’re a small organization.
So, I think the commission needs to do a lot more. To streamline that process and really allow people to just get to the work they want to do, which is that nonprofit work. So, I guess we can open it up to questions. This is from one of our participants today, Patricia would like to ask Jonathon, if Democrats take control of the commission, what is the first change that you would implement?
Oh, that’s a great question. And it really gets to the, one of the important aspects of this election. Right now, there are two Democrats out of the five commissioners. And so, we’re in the minority, but. This year we have one democratic seat, one Republican seat up for reelection. So, if we’re able to elect two Democrats to those seats, the Democrats will suddenly be the majority and obviously have much more control over the commission’s decisions.
And so, I would say that the gosh out of the gate, I think the first thing. That I would do is really go back and look at the energy rules package that was recently semi provisionally approved and as is approaching its full approval. I think it has a lot of good things in it, but one of the disappointing things is that it’s aiming for.
Of reduction or an elimination of fossil fuels in Arizona by 2070. And that’s a really long time away. And that’s a lot of carbon dioxide put in the atmosphere over those next 50 years. And so, I’d really like to you, if we have a democratic majority on the commission, use it to revisit that timeline.
And help accelerate it. And I think that’s where the, like I said, the transmission line capacity plays a big role. If we can get that built faster, I think that enables solar and wind facilities faster. And so that’s something that I’ve found in my engineering work. Sometimes the problem isn’t what you think it is, you think the problem is we don’t have enough solar power plants.
When you look at it deeper, the problem is that you just don’t have the transmission lines to carry that power to, to cities. And so yeah that’s where I would start. Although there’s obviously lots of work. Thank you,
Jonathon. Next, we have Susie Anderson. One of our board members would like to ask her question, please let me yourself and ask your questions.
Hi, welcome Jonathon. It’s really nice to see a scientist. Makes a big difference to me being of a science mind now in your work, have you done any work with budgeting and. This is such a pro-business state that, they’ve just done everything in their power so far to allow corporations a great amount of leeway and raising their rates and putting and doing projects that.
They think are important in your work with budgeting. Can, do you understand how that works so that you can bend the conversation to what they’re producing? What they’re giving back to Arizona, rather than just taking for the corporation? Thanks. That’s a, another great question. And I’d say that, unfortunately, in my experience with all these NASA missions, I’ve gotten a lot of experience working with budgets.
One of the sayings goes is that NASA is really a giant accounting firm that likes to play with rockets on the side. It’s really is a ton of money. Going in lots of different places. And sometimes it really does feel like we spend more time on budgeting and, budget forecasts and all that than doing actual science.
So, I think I’m obviously not a professional accountant, but I think I’m certainly well enough verse to jump into that and really appreciate that. The details that can be hidden in budgets. In order to get the things, you really want for example our Mars Odyssey mission it’s not new.
It’s been at Mars for 20 years. It’s not sexy. It’s gets really pushed down on the budgets. And so, we’ve really learned how to operate in. Non-public just only the, a couple experts really know what’s going on down at that level. And so that’s where something I think is I would love to dive into really on the commission is looking at not just the power companies, top line items, but let’s dig down into that budget.
Let’s at the bottom lines, all the little things that are laying the groundwork for more fossil fuels. Usage that we want to eliminate.
Thank you, Jonathon. Next, we have Craig. Sorry,
what a thorny does the Corporation Commission have over a nuclear waste disposal from
So, the commission unfortunately doesn’t have a whole lot of control over the nuclear waste disposal. That falls mostly to the department of energy. But that, that obviously is. I have lots of thoughts about my grandfather was a nuclear engineer worked on the USS Nautilus, the first nuclear submarine.
And, he obviously had a lot of strong opinions about and frustrations with the lack of nuclear fuel reprocessing, and the fact that it can be done safely, but it takes investment. And that’s something that’s. Companies that run our current, you go to power plants like Palo Verde just don’t put the investment in.
They like to leave all that spent nuclear fuel in cooling pools, in the reactor building. And that’s what caused the problem at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan is that you had all this spent fuel. Just sitting in the corner of the room, basically waiting to be an accident. So that’s something that, although the commission doesn’t have a whole lot of control over there is bully, pulpits capability that the commission has in getting people’s attention.
And so, I think that’s a hard egg to crack, but something worth. You mentioned that you wanted to renew the
Re-look at the energy standard and see if we can improve that. Do you have any goals in mind for when rate and what date we need to get to zero emissions by?
As a scientist, I think, one of the key things would be that you can explain climate science to the public. What do you see your role as a communicator of science on the commission?
I’ll take your second question first. I think that’s something that I think that’s probably the commission’s biggest problem is that people don’t know what they do, and they don’t know the science behind what the commission is deciding.
And just like in these NASA missions, we’ve found that. If you want the budget, you have to communicate the science and the importance of that science to people. And so, I think taking that same idea to the commission, I think the commission needs to be taking an active role in educating people providing expertise to people, walking them through the evidence.
I didn’t prepare a slide today on this, which you wouldn’t have seen it anyways. Unfortunately. But I always like to point out to people that I can explain, the problem with CO2 gas in the atmosphere, in a single slide, because that’s what frustrates all of our efforts on studying Mars is that it has a whole bunch of CO2 in its atmosphere and our infrared instruments can’t see through it.
And the same thing is happening on earth. It’s just that, that infrared light isn’t getting out, it’s staying in. And yeah, I think that’s a really critical thing. You can’t expect people to change their minds on, especially on a, on an issue that’s so ingrained in people like climate science unless you really go down to there, go down to their level of, amateur expertise and educate them and bring them up with you to understand it.
Yeah. I’m sorry. Michael, can you repeat your first question you had
yeah, the first part was just a, give us an idea of the stepwise progression that you would like to see in our renewable energy standards. If we had some control in the in the Arizona corporation
Yeah. So personally, looking at obviously that 20, 70 goal is. Really far out, I’d like to have zero carbon energy in Arizona’s future, in my lifetime. So obviously something sooner is important, but instead of looking at just simple, end dates of, 20, 70 we’re carbon neutral or, fully renewable instead look at the big problems, for example, Decommission the remaining coal plants in Arizona, a couple of years faster, that’s a huge amount of CO2 that you’re preventing from being released into the atmosphere.
And so even though the system, the Arizona system as a whole, isn’t at zero, you’ve brought the total amount of CO2 down a lot. And I think that’s where the. The most immediate progress can be made is taking those really high impact, really dirty fuel sources, decommissioning. Those we can worry about natural gas and things later let’s get those coal plants deactivated as soon as possible.
Next step is Dr. Barbara Warren. She’d like to ask a question, please unmute yourself and ask your questions. Thank
you. I just like to ask, if you specifically would support working for a hundred percent clean, safe, renewable energy on the commission. And if so, how would you advance that or do that at that act to do that on the commission.
And that second part to that is, are you a supporter of community sourced energy? Yeah. So yeah, to be a hundred percent clear, I am 100% in favor of full, renewable energy generation by in Arizona. And I think that’s fully achievable. I think it’s really a lack of will and financial will in making that happen.
And In terms of accelerating that or making that happen faster. I think that’s where this transmission line. Just it’s a puzzle. There’s right now, there’s a project it’s called 10 west, basically an extend the transmission line from the Palo Verde area down the I 10 corridor west toward the border with California.
Because that area, if you look at the solar energy maps is really prime real estate for solar energy generation. But there’s just no transmission lines servicing it currently. So as APS can then, say financially we can’t build it. It’s not financially feasible. Suddenly you put the transmission line in and I’ll look at it.
It’s actually financially feasible. As Fidessa your question about community-based energy? I think that’s a huge opportunity. I’d love, when you’re driving out in the desert, especially in Nevada, they have some beautiful lawns and you come across these giant solar fields, but that does a lot of that has a lot of impact to the native biology and the environment in those areas.
It looks like a desert, it looks blank, but it’s really not. There’s really a. Very finely tuned ecosystem there. And so why build the power plants out there? We can just build them in our communities where we’ve already altered the environment for better or worse. And lot of things have been brought up about the commission using, throwing their weight behind new construction, solar, making it a requirement.
I’m fully in favor of that, but I think the commission also needs to use its ability as one of the government agencies to push for solar on state owned property. One example is that I live just a couple of miles away from the local water treatment plant, huge surface area. They don’t like light because it encourages algae growth in the water that they’re trying to purify.
It’s the perfect opportunity for. And it would be a huge area. It’s state-owned, we can implement that without a whole lot of property issues. And so, I think those, community energy sources are really important and a huge opportunity community source energy that we are working on is allowing the community to decide where it gets its energy.
And then in order to be able to, I don’t know if it’s purchase or decide how they get their energy within that community. So, they may, they are making the energy. Decisions for the community rather than building the energy. Oh yeah. And in that case as well, I think, personally, I would go out and I’d be willing to pay a premium people.
Shouldn’t have to, but I’d be willing to pay a premium to know my power is coming from a renewable sources. And so, I think that, yeah, giving people the opportunity to choose that. Is another way of skews. Excuse me. Another way of pushing the power companies, making a financial case for them to build renewable energy sources, it looks like
Christina early has another question from the chat brat.
Yes. Yep. This is from the chat. I have a couple of questions here. You’ve been talking about the transmission lines and Carolyn Clawson would like to know if you have an opinion on underground or overhead electrical poles. Yes. So obviously this. That’s a major decision to make. And we’ve seen obviously in places like California, where going the cheaper route of overhead transmission lines can very easily lead to forest fires.
As the climate is changing, we’re seeing changing wind patterns those really large high-voltage transmission lines running through forests that are dry and it’s not a good combination. And so, I think that in areas like that the added expense of putting them underground is necessary just from a safety perspective.
It areas that are more desert dish like the Sonoran desert the areas down in Southern half of Arizona that are more prime for solar generation obviously I can appreciate the lower cost, the lower maintenance associated with overhead lines. But I think we have to go about that smartly.
Obviously, we don’t want those running through our neighborhoods. We don’t want those running through, preserved lands. And that’s really one of the hardest parts about getting these big transmission line projects approved is simply the property rights and the right of ways. And that’s a, it’s a huge issue.
Yeah, I think it ultimately has to be a combination of above ground and below ground. And we have to be smart about where we put each. I hope that answered your question. Carolyn. Karen has asked what’s your stances on nuclear energy. Can you talk some about the waste, but she would like to know what your stance is just on the industry itself.
Oh, so questions about nuclear energy versus the nuclear energy industry nuclear energy industry. I have a very poor opinion of but we won’t go, we won’t go down that rabbit hole in terms of nuclear power itself. And I specifically Palo Verde because it’s their and. It. It’s already built.
It’s already running personally. I would prefer to get power from Palo Verde right now than the coal burning power plants. Each has their own problem,
but I think when you balance out the net positives, the net negatives, I would rather get power from Palo Verde right now than a coal powered plant. However, long-term. Uranium based nuclear power I think is, has a lot of problems. Like I said, it is possible to safely and efficiently process that waste, but it is expensive and it literally hangs around for millennia.
So, it’s just too problematic. Personally, I’m really. Optimistic about 3m based nuclear power that has a lot of long way to go. Despite what some people say, it’s not just around the horizon. There’s a lot of technical issues to take care of. But I think that’s a potential we’ll say compromise between.
Reducing carbon emissions, but also not trying to create an additional problem with nuclear waste and especially with non-proliferation issues. It’s not a proliferation hazard. Okay. So, I just, I want to make sure that I asked that question, right? So, I didn’t mean to say nuclear industries. They just wanted to know what your stance was on nuclear energy.
And it sounds like to me that when appropriate, it’s better than getting it from coal. We’ve got a lot to learn about nuclear and there’s. Advances that we need to look at to make it safer for. Yeah. And in the long-term I’m in favor of phasing out uranium based nuclear power especially Palo Verde, it’s coming very close to the end of its reasonably expected lifetime.
I would not be in favor at all of replacing it with. Uranium based reactor. I don’t think that’s the proper way to go. I would like to know it with the mitigating dire and intimate water shortage. How will that relate to your position on the Arizona Corporation Commission? Oh, so yeah, water is really complicated when it comes to regulations.
The Corporation Commission does not regulate some water. Distribution networks, it regulates others. So, in the ones that it does regulate which unfortunately aren’t the major ones. I think the important thing on the smaller ones is make, when they apply for increased permit.
Expand their operations, really making sure that they have the reliable water reserves to support that. And that they’re expanding in reasonable ways. And if they’re not, I don’t think those applications should be approved. However, one of the interesting engineering aspects of this is that especially coal burning power plants use a lot of water resources.
For steam generation and cooling it’s a surprising amount of water that’s being used. And so, it’s not only a CO2 issue. It’s also a water issue. And so, if you re replace that with a solar, with wind there’s a couple areas in Arizona that are, might be ideal for geothermal. Obviously, those include much less water input and that’s something the commission does have authority over.
And piling on reasons, obviously of why we need to get these coal plants decommissioned as soon as possible. Thank you so much.
Susie Anderson is next in the queue. I mute yourself and ask your questions,
Suzy. Oh, okay. Thank you. Talking about water governor Ducey is recommending putting a pipeline from the Gulf of California up into Arizona to feed the CAP.
I think it’s a CAP. I don’t, I’m not sure if he understands what he, we would need to do and whether or not it’s a good idea. Will you address that please? Yeah, so actually I hadn’t heard of. That idea that he had. But I can tell you just off hand it’s silly. One, the Gulf of California is ocean it’s salt water, as much as I love salt water, because it creates those great salt deposits on Mars.
Desalinating water for. Either, drinking water or use, and agriculture is extremely energy intensive and that’s the last thing we need to be doing right now is making our water problem. Also, an energy problem. Also, the terrain, I don’t know if anyone’s ever been down to Rocky point the train down there.
Not the best for building pipelines, especially once you get into Arizona, there’s a little too, there’s too much up and down, not to mention that area between the Arizona border and the Gulf of California, the Rocky point area, that’s actually a preserve. In Mexico, a biological preserve is actually a really very geologically and biologically interesting environment.
So yeah, another reason not to run a pipeline right through it.
It looks like a Leslie Nixon has her hand up next for a question, please unmute yourself and ask your question,
Leslie. Okay. Thank
Jonathon your age, your background and your positions, I think would appear. To younger voters, which these days to me means under 50.
And I found your website easily, but I didn’t see you on social media. And I’m just thinking that is a place you’re going to reach younger people. I know plenty of under fifties, who you said is their main source of news and information. So, I’m hoping you’ll go. Oh, yes. Yeah. And that’s something that I was just talking with Michael about the other day obviously going from being an engineer to trying to be a statewide candidate is a, an awfully sharp learning curve.
And I’m used to those, but it’s still sharp. And yeah, we’re the campaign organization I’ve put in together where we’re learning a lot of lessons very quickly. And yeah, social media is one of those. It’s actually a lot harder than you would think. But yeah, we are working on that.
We do have a volunteer who just came on, who has a lot of experience building social media networks for political organizations. And so, we’re hoping to take advantage of his expertise. Give us some guidance there.
It was like Craig market has another question. Go ahead and unmute yourself and ask a question, Greg.
Okay. Addressing water and energy. I’m wondering if it’s in a purview of a corporation of patient to look at the possibility of converting water-intensive farm crops like alfalfa and cotton to a solar farm.
That way you would have land that’s already been used. It wouldn’t affect the desert or the pristine desert. Yeah. So, the commission wouldn’t have any, or at least much direct regulatory authority over that, but. Not to harp on it, but I think that’s where this transmission line capability comes in.
Because if you have suddenly had a really high voltage transmission line running by your property of a hundred acres thousand acres of alfalfa, suddenly economic. Putting in solar might be a better option, becoming a solar farmer rather than alfalfa farmer might become economically advantageous to you.
And I’m totally in favor of giving people economic incentives to nudge them in the right direction when it comes to renewable energy construction and use.
I’d like to ask you a question. I gathered from some of the things that you said that you would not be in favor of new, natural gas-based generation. Can you expand a little bit on that and are you aware of current proposals for natural gas generation that you have a problem with? And what would be the alternative to some of these proposals for
generating power with natural gas? Yeah. So new natural gas is tricky. And. I literally live across the street from the power plant here in Tempe, where they just put in five new natural gas burning generators.
Obviously, I’m not, I think in the long-term we need to obviously move away from that right now, though. Those natural gas plants do play an important role in the power net, the power grid they’re very responsive. They can be very responsive to spikes and power usage. That’s something that’s of renewable energy sources have a problem with it’s hard to ramp them up or ramp them down on demand.
I think that’s an area where things like utility-scale hydrogen utility scale batteries that’s where their role comes in. I think some of that technology is not quite there, but that’s an opportunity I think, for the commission to help advance that Organize and get all the clearances to build a test, a hydrogen scale facility.
Let’s help the scientists work out. Those problems, help the engineers work out those problems on a utility size scale with an example project Yeah. And obviously utility scale batteries have their own issues in terms of mining and sourcing those metals. Looking at utility scale, hydrogen, I think is a really promising.
Are you aware of any proposals by any of the Arizona utilities to adopt or explore the possibility of utility scale of hydrogen?
Unfortunately, no. I know people here at ASU are working on it. I would assume some people down at university of Arizona are working on it. It’s a relatively simple process.
The problem is simply the engineering of it. The science is pretty well understood as the engineering of a robust system that can be used as part of the power grid. And that’s where I think, partnering with the universities, partnering with companies, doing that research is a way that the commission can help move that technology forward instead of just being a bystander, waiting for it, to evolve on.
a follow up on the natural gas question. One of the big controversies around use of natural gas is natural gas in the home, especially a new home starts and restriction of using natural gas in new home starts. What do you view your role on the Corporation Commission? Regarding new homes start building might be, and what’s your position on use
of natural gas in the domestic?
I don’t think we should be doing new home, starts new construction, relying on fossil fuels. I think that’s looking backwards. I know I have a couple of friends who’ve loved cooking on their gas ranges. We can make, we can make that possible without turning your entire house.
Water heating and air heating into gas. And so, I think the commission’s role in that while they don’t necessarily have the authority to change building codes and all the different jurisdictions, they do have authority over pipeline building. And if you simply don’t approve a new natural gas pipeline into an area, that area is going to have to go electric rather than natural gas.
And so, I think that’s where the commission can throw its weight around. On preventing the increase of natural gas usage, where it’s just completely unnecessary, electrical alternatives are perfectly fine.
One of the things we talked about yesterday was considering native communities here in Arizona in rape cases, I’d like to give you an opportunity to expand on that a little bit more and talk about that.
Cause we haven’t
touched on yet. Yeah. So, this is an area where. I think all the candidates for Corporation Commission, myself, Lauren, Sandra are all very much on the same page of, the indigenous communities in Arizona have enabled through their mineral wealth and their water wealth, all the, basically all of our cities.
Everyone in Phoenix, everyone in Tucson, everyone in Flagstaff they’ve benefited from that power and water resources. I think there’s an issue of justice when it comes to, if you can’t just shut down a coal power plant in one of their communities and simply walk away after extracting.
Their energy wealth for the last century. I just don’t think that’s just, and so I think some of those communities, you can replace that power generation capability with renewable sources, specifically solar. Unfortunately, in other areas that’s not ideal. It’s just not an economically feasible climate to do that.
And so, I think that’s where it’s really, it’s going to take working with those communities and helping. Transition. We’re the ones who created those communities around those power resources. We should be responsible for helping them maintain their communities that they’ve built up. And also, I think it’s a sort of a terrible irony that we get so much of a.
Coal power from the native American reservations. But so many of their community members are the ones without power. I think that’s. Just an embarrassment for all of us. And so, I think that’s where the commission can also help by encouraging and the issue. One of the issues out there is they tend to be, is it the communities tend to be small, large distances apart.
There’s a lot of costs of running transmission lines. That’s where I think you can really take advantage of, local scale energy. Have us each small community have their own. Solar plant or their own wind plant. So yeah, I think the Corporation Commission needs to take an active role in helping that transition.
one of the things we traditionally do as the last question is you can, tell us a little bit about your campaign, how to get involved in your campaign, how to donate and support your campaign. And drop some links into the chat so people can find those resources easily. So why don’t you give us a rundown on that information, Jonathon?
Yeah. So, I would say that right now, as I already mentioned we’re ramping up the campaign. We’re finally bringing on some people that have experience with congressional level campaigns. So, they’re stretching when it comes to a statewide campaign. But I have a lot of faith in them.
They really know what they’re doing. But yeah, as any campaign will tell you, we’re strapped for support. Every little bit helps, whether it’s just going out and signing that nomination petition, giving that $5 clean elections contribution. It’s I can’t tell you how much those really help those add up so fast.
It seems oh, I’m just one person giving my one $5 bill. What difference is that going to make it? It really adds up over time. And in terms of really taking this campaign statewide, making sure we have a statewide reach. We’re currently raising seed funds. We’re really limited in what we can do with the clean elections rules.
We can only accept $180 per individual and still maintain our compliance with those rules. And so, we have that link on the website. I’ll put it in the chat in a second. And yeah, we appreciate it. Doesn’t have to be the full 180, every additional $5, $10 really goes a long way to helping when lots of people jump on and help us.
With that, I’m going to bring this a session of did you teach to a close? I’d like to thank soon to be Dr. Hill joining us today and sharing his ideas for Arizona. Thanks for joining us in good night or good day. Good afternoon, everybody.