June 10, 2022
As of the May 31st participation deadline, 18 cities and counties across Utah have joined the effort to launch a default net-100% renewable electricity option for Rocky Mountain Power customers in their communities.
Participating communities stretch as far south as Springdale, as far east as Castle Valley, as far north as Ogden, and as far west as Kearns. Collectively, these communities account for about 25 percent of Rocky Mountain Power’s electricity sales in the state.
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 first-of-its kind renewable electricity program.
The Agency is currently negotiating with Rocky Mountain Power on how to design the Community Renewable Energy Program, which aspires to match 100 percent of participating customers’ annual electricity consumption with renewable generation supplied to our grid, no later than 2030.
“This program is not only the first-of-its-kind in Utah, it’s the first-of-its-kind in the United States,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall. “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.”
“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,” said Salt Lake City Council Chair Dan Dugan who is the City’s primary board member appointed to the Community Renewable Energy Agency and serves as its Board Chair. “The Community Renewable Energy Program creates a cleaner environment, healthier cities, and resilient energy supplies. In light of unprecedented statewide growth and climate change, the program makes every participating household more secure by transitioning communities to clean energy.”
In October of last year, 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. 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 percent renewable electricity program.
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 recently conducted surveys of their residents and the responses have shown strong support for renewable energy. For example, a large majority (over 70 percent) of Ogden residents think businesses, residents, and local governments should be doing more to seek out renewable energy. And a recent survey of Salt Lake City residents showed that 88 percent 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.
Several steps remain on the path to creating the new renewable electricity program. The Agency hopes Rocky Mountain Power will file a Program application with the Utah Public Service Commission later this year. Should that application be approved, interested communities will each need to adopt ordinances to finalize their participation. The new renewable electricity program could launch as soon as 2023 or 2024.
To learn more, visit: https://www.utah100communities.org/