Release: Utah Communities Celebrate Landmark Renewable Energy Legislation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 22, 2019
Matthew Rojas, Salt Lake City Corporation
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Emma Prysunka, Park City Municipal
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Krachel Murdock, Summit County
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Spencer Hall, Rocky Mountain Power
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Utah Communities Celebrate Landmark Renewable Energy Legislation
Rocky Mountain Power partnered with local governments to support passage of the Community Renewable Energy Act which authorizes a path to net-100% renewable electricity
Representatives from numerous Utah communities along with Rocky Mountain Power will join Governor Gary Herbert at a ceremonial signing this afternoon for the Community Renewable Energy Act (HB 411). The legislation was sponsored by Representative Steve Handy and enables next steps towards a net-100%* renewable electricity portfolio by 2030 for Utah communities with ambitious clean energy goals.
Park City, Salt Lake City and Summit County worked with Rocky Mountain Power for over three years leading up to the passage of HB 411 to envision this first-of-its-kind legislation. The bill authorizes future regulatory filings at the Utah Public Service Commission that will define rules, rates and expectations for the community renewable energy program.
“House Bill 411 is groundbreaking legislation, not just for our state, but for the country. It also represents the biggest breakthrough ever in Salt Lake City’s pursuit of clean energy,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, who also serves as co-chair of the Sierra Club’s Mayors for 100% Clean Energy Campaign and is the Chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Alliance for a Sustainable Future. “Powering all of our homes and businesses with renewable energy by 2030 will cut our community carbon footprint in half and create a replicable roadmap for others across the country.”
“We're in the midst of what some are calling ‘The New Energy Economy,’ which is both exciting and challenging,” said lead bill sponsor Representative Steve Handy. “When I first heard about the concept of what eventually became HB 411, the Community Renewable Energy Act, I immediately recognized it as groundbreaking. And when it comes to ‘The New Energy Economy,’ I believe that it's the role of government to remove barriers and let market forces take over, which is exactly what HB 411 does.”
Rocky Mountain Power will facilitate the transition to a net-100% renewable electricity portfolio and the utility will continue to provide all of its standard services for customers. The financial costs and benefits of the program will be isolated to participating communities so that no costs are shifted to other utility customers. Additionally, individual customers in participating communities have the ability to stay on standard Rocky Mountain Power rates through an opt-out process after the program is established.
“Park City residents deeply value their natural environment, so it’s exciting to partner with other Utah communities and our utility to further our climate goals,” said Park City Mayor Andy Beerman. “HB 411 has created a pathway for communities to work together with their utility to develop a new energy economy. We are excited to be a leader in this collaboration and show other communities that renewable energy is not just possible, but also affordable and practical.”
Goals to achieve 100% renewable energy are becoming more commonplace across the country and some cities have made major strides towards this ambition. The unique innovation with H.B. 411 is the partnership it embodies between communities and an investor-owned utility such as Rocky Mountain Power that is willing to tailor an electricity generation portfolio to meet community clean energy targets.
“This bill represents the next step in over three years of great collaboration between forward-looking Utah communities and their electricity provider, Rocky Mountain Power,” said Gary Hoogeveen, Rocky Mountain Power CEO. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with these Utah cities and counties to help power their greatness and achieve their community goals.”
Many local non-profits played a supporting role in helping shape and support this landmark legislation. HEAL Utah, Utah Chapter of Sierra Club, and Utah Clean Energy were among the stakeholders supporting robust development of renewable energy resources for participating communities.
A rulemaking process to define next steps for the Community Renewable Energy Act is underway at the Utah Public Service Commission. The legislation identified a deadline of December 31, 2019 for Utah communities to adopt a local resolution and formalize their interest in a net-100% renewable electricity portfolio by 2030.
“The Community Renewable Energy Act allows Summit County to expand and sustain our work at the forefront of the renewable energy movement,” Summit County Councilman Glenn Wright said. “Our county’s goals to transition to net 100 percent renewable energy operations by 2030 would not be possible without this victory.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Salt Lake City has posted answers to FAQs about the Community Renewable Energy Act on its SLCgreen webpage. One example response regarding the term “net-100% renewable electricity" is included below:
* The term “net-100%” is used to denote that new renewable energy resources will provide enough power to meet all net-annual community electricity needs by 2030. Renewable energy projects will be integrated into the broader regional electric grid over time and power provided to participating communities will not always be directly related to renewable projects as electricity is managed for customers throughout the whole system. More details are available in the online FAQ.