Utah 100 Communities initiative is negotiating with Rocky Mountain Power on a programme to match 100 per cent of participating customers’ annual electricity consumption with renewable generation no later than 2030.
A combination of 18 cities and counties across Utah have joined forces to launch a default net-100 per cent renewable electricity option for Rocky Mountain Power customers in their communities.
The Community Renewable Energy Agency (also called the “Utah 100 Communities”) formed in response to HB 411, a 2019 bill called the Utah Community Renewable Energy Act, that created a pathway for interested communities served by Rocky Mountain Power to collaborate on creating this renewable electricity programme that claims to be a first-of-its kind.
The agency is negotiating with Rocky Mountain Power on how to design the Community Renewable Energy Programme, which aspires to match 100 per cent of participating customers’ annual electricity consumption with renewable generation supplied to the grid, no later than 2030.
“This programme is not only the first-of-its-kind in Utah, it’s the first-of-its-kind in the United States,” said Erin Mendenhall, mayor of Salt Lake City. “Together with Rocky Mountain Power, our communities are building the clean energy infrastructure we need for our children and grandchildren to have a healthy and prosperous future. In a time when cooperation and good news seem hard to come by, we’re working across Utah together to get things done.”
In October 2021, the agency hired local law firm James Dodge Russell & Stephens as outside counsel and has been conducting regular negotiations with officials from Rocky Mountain Power (also called PacifiCorp) since December.
“In light of unprecedented state-wide growth and climate change, the programme makes every participating household more secure by transitioning communities to clean energy”
The agency will hold additional negotiations with state regulators in the coming months. One of the primary objectives of these negotiations is to estimate how much it will cost for customers to participate in the new net-100 per cent renewable electricity programme.
“Transitioning to reliable renewable energy is a top priority for Salt Lake City, and the entire state benefits from our partnership with Rocky Mountain Power and Utah communities,” added Dan Dugan, chair of Salt Lake City Council, who is also the City’s primary board member appointed to the Community Renewable Energy Agency and serves as its board chair.
“The Community Renewable Energy Programme creates a cleaner environment, healthier cities, and resilient energy supplies. In light of unprecedented state-wide growth and climate change, the programme makes every participating household more secure by transitioning communities to clean energy.”
The agency is a cooperative effort, meaning that its activities are staffed by elected officials and staff from each of the participating communities.
Several communities conducted surveys of their residents and the responses have shown strong support for renewable energy. For example, a large majority (over 70 per cent) of Ogden residents think businesses, residents, and local governments should be doing more to seek out renewable energy.
“Our communities are building the clean energy infrastructure we need for our children and grandchildren to have a healthy and prosperous future”
And a recent survey of Salt Lake City residents showed that 88 per cent of residents are supportive of an option to source all of their electricity from renewable energy sources that do not produce air pollution.
The current roster of communities is (in alphabetical order): the town of Alta; Castle Valley; Coalville; Cottonwood Heights; Emigration Canyon; Francis, Grand County; Holladay; Kearns; Millcreek; Moab; Oakley; Ogden; Park City; Salt Lake City; Salt Lake County; Springdale; and Summit County.
The agency reports several steps remain on the path to creating the new renewable electricity programme. It hopes Rocky Mountain Power will file a programme application with the Utah Public Service Commission later this year.
Should that application be approved, interested communities will each need to adopt ordinances to finalise their participation. The new renewable electricity programme could then launch in 2023 or 2024.