While politically, economically, and environmentally willing to host its share of the Devers?Palo Verde 2 transmission line, Arizona wants to exact a price for its willingness. If it doesn?t get certain benefits for that state, Devers? developers may face years of delays. ?I?ve really gone back and forth on that Devers line,? said Arizona Corporation Commission member Mike Gleason. ?Maybe we shouldn?t be so accommodating. If we voted not to build the Devers line, we?d probably get sued. That would delay it for five or six years.? Gleason asked, ?We have the market in Arizona for all that power, so should we be sending it to California?? But he sees the proposed Devers?Palo Verde 2 transmission line from that state to California as something sure to happen. And he doesn?t have much of a problem supplying California?s appetite for electrons if the conditions are right. So far, there is support for the project from Arizonans for Electric Choice and Competition (AECC), a statewide trade association of large electricity users that looks out for its members? energy interests. Members include heavy-duty electricity users such as Boeing, Honeywell, Hughes, Intel, Lockheed Martin, Phelps Dodge, and Raytheon. ?It?s good for the large electricity users, and in the long run, it?s good for consumers,? said AECC spokesperson Ian Caulkins. The group favors merchant plants. ?Those plants were built under the assumption that the electric grid would be built,? Caulkins said. Unfortunately, he continued, the grid did not expand, which has hurt generators and, in turn, consumers. Advocates for small consumers, such as the Arizona Public Interest Research Group, may not join the debate. Gleason, who began a four-year term in January, indicated that Arizona has to receive benefits from the project, including use of the line by Arizona utilities. The Arizona commission as a rule doesn?t rubber-stamp requests unless there are specific benefits for the state and its residents and ratepayers (<i>Circuit<\/i>, April 29, 2005). The Arizona commission?s five members are all Republicans. The commissioners are not political appointees but elected by the voters, which limits Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano?s power over the commission. Other commissioners did not respond to requests for comment. The 1,200 MW, 500 kV line proposed by Southern California Edison will provide a route to California?s Palm Springs area for electricity stranded in Arizona by transmission constraints. The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, however, maintains that developing the line is its business. Edison hasn?t identified potential suppliers, but about 3,000 MW is available around the area of the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, the line?s eastern terminus. Both Edison and LADWP are partial owners of that plant. This fall, Edison plans to ask the Arizona commission for approval of the half of the project that passes through Arizona. It is expected to start up in 2009. Any delays could put a crimp in Edison?s plan. Delays could affect power supply, jobs, and taxes. ?I kind of take the attitude that if the private market works, maybe somebody?s going to want to build a couple more power plants out there, and we have business in Arizona, which we?re trying to promote,? Gleason said. Among other duties, the Arizona commission is charged with protecting the state?s environment. So far, Arizona?s environmental community hasn?t said much. The Grand Canyon Trust, which is interested in the environment in the Colorado Plateau, doesn?t plan on contesting the line, according to a spokesperson. That, however, doesn?t preclude the group from complaining if a proposed merchant plant is perceived as a threat to the plateau. The Arizona Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club hasn?t taken an official position, though Jack Foster of Tucson, a member of the chapter?s energy committee, said that the route likely won?t be a problem for the chapter. ?From an environmental standpoint, this is the best you can get,? he said, explaining that if a line must be built, it?s better to follow an existing route than to blaze a new trail. However, Foster voiced concern. ?I?m questioning the need to ship power out of state. We in the Sierra Club energy committee are attempting to further distributed power services instead of the grid. This is simply an extension of the grid.? Gleason also questions the environmental effect of exporting power. Gleason, who holds a doctorate in plant physiology, said, ?It?s a lot better than using that water to grow cotton. The water to run a 1,000 MW power plant is about the same as to grow a thousand acres of cotton. We in Arizona make a lot more money in taxes and returns from that power plant than we do from cotton.? The Arizona commission has the legal ability to add its own conditions to the line. It could require more stringent environmental mitigation than the state specifies, or it could push the envelope for new technologies. One example of that is a requirement that plant owners or operators do a study every five years on whether there are any new technologies that would mitigate a plant?s environmental impact, so ?you don?t wind up in 25 years with a plant that was built with 25-year-old technology that?s been superseded,? said Arizona commission spokesperson Heather Murphy.