Unique Salt Lake County resolution puts 100% renewable onus on local utility

Unique Salt Lake County resolution puts 100% renewable onus on local utility

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The Salt Lake County Council passed a resolution establishing a goal of powering the county with 100% clean, renewable electricity by 2030. The resolution requires local utility Rocky Mountain Power (RMP) to replace fossil fuel generation with renewable energy resources to meet the new commitment. In 2020, RMP will have to issue a filing at the Public Service Commission, conduct a yearlong demand study and begin the process of setting new electricity rates for participating customers.

Salt Lake County joins Salt Lake City, Park City, Moab, Cottonwood Heights, Holladay, Oakley and Summit County as the eighth Utah community committed to achieving 100% renewable electricity by 2030, in compliance with HB411. Per the legislation, the deadline for cities and counties to join the program is December 31, 2019.

Salt Lake County Councilwoman Shireen Ghorbani introduced the resolution at the County Council.

“I’m proud that the Council took an important step today to demonstrate our commitment to clean energy and to give our residents the choice to be responsible stewards and to reverse the effects of climate change,” said Ghorbani.

The HB411 legislation, signed by the Governor earlier this year, offers Utah communities the chance to benefit from the environmental, economic and health benefits of renewable energy. Coal is now more expensive than renewable energy, and the price of wind and solar keeps decreasing. Under HB411, Salt Lake County and the other municipalities and counties that commit to 100% renewable energy are protected from the cost to continue operating RMP’s increasingly expensive coal fleet past 2030.

“The Community Renewable Energy Act is not simply a made-in-good-faith 100% renewable energy goal; it is an actionable plan to bring participating Utah communities to the clean energy future,” said Lindsay Beebe of the Utah Sierra Club. “What’s more is that the bill is first-of-its-kind legislation that can be used as a blueprint in other states to encourage utilities to partner with communities to power themselves with 100% renewable energy.”

RMP has the largest and dirtiest coal fleet in the West. Utahns bear the cost of 40% of RMP’s coal fleet, and that share will increase since Oregon and Washington passed legislation to protect in-state electricity customers from paying for coal starting in 2030 and 2025, respectively. Following 2030, the burden of RMP’s coal fleet will disproportionately fall on customers in Utah who did not commit to 100% clean energy in accordance with HB411.

News item from the Sierra Club

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