Working Together for 100% Renewable Electricity
Despite the challenges of the past year, Salt Lake City and nearly two dozen other communities in Utah have made progress on the path to achieving community-wide net-100% renewable electricity. Shifting our communities to renewable electricity will significantly reduce Utah’s carbon footprint, and help lower emissions.
Salt Lake City is committed to meeting our Climate Positive goals on the community and municipal level. Prior to 2019, Rocky Mountain Power, Utah’s largest investor-owned utility, had made renewable energy accessible to residents in Utah through the Blue Sky program and the Subscriber Solar program.
However, in order to achieve net-100% renewable energy on a community-wide scale, Utah’s communities needed to go even further. In 2019, the Utah legislature passed HB 411, the Community Renewable Energy Act, that established a pathway that would allow Utah communities in Rocky Mountain Power’s service territory to opt-in to procure net-100% renewable electricity by 2030.
A total of 23 communities in Utah, including Salt Lake City, became eligible to move forward with the program in December 2019. But that was only the beginning! 2021 will be a critical year for this ambitious project, and the Utah 100 Communities have been working hard to continue to make progress. Read on for more details!
The Utah 100 Communities
With nearly two dozen Utah communities, the Utah 100 Communities are preparing to bring renewable electricity to residents and businesses across the state. At this stage, 21 communities are engaged in creating a governance agreement that will help guide important decisions as the program moves forward.
You might ask: Why are all of these communities working together? Can’t they each have their own program? Well, HB 411 stipulates that communities must work together on a joint agreement with each other, a joint filing with Rocky Mountain Power to Utah state regulators (the Public Service Commission), and ultimately on signing agreements to purchase power from the same renewable energy projects. In the end, this makes for a stronger program with a bigger impact. (See the timeline here). That’s why SLCgreen and our partner communities have been so hard at work over the last year!
And that’s why we were excited to welcome the public to our first discussion of our progress thus far.
In February 2021, the Utah 100 Communities gathered for public discussions related to the governance agreement and other necessary steps to move forward. The governance subgroup presented an agreement structure that will help make sure every community has a voice in important decisions and that costs are shared fairly.
If you missed the meeting, don’t worry: Check out the YouTube recording of the Utah 100 Community’s Local Governments Meeting below:
Be “100% In”
The Community Renewable Energy Act was passed thanks to the grassroots efforts of passionate constituents. But the work isn’t over yet. While we are years away from seeing the first solar farm built, community partners, advocates, volunteers, and other supporters of renewable energy will play an important role in bringing renewable electricity to our communities in an equitable and sustainable way.
HB 411 structures the Community Renewable Energy Program so that residents and businesses can opt-out of the renewable energy program once it clears all of the other regulatory hurdles (again, this is a few years away). That’s good because the program may not be for everyone.
However, Salt Lake City residents and businesses who stay “100% In” will be able to support the sourcing of our electricity from a renewable portfolio. This means that Salt Lake City and other cities in Utah will be working together to reduce carbon emissions, slow the effects of climate change, protect our air quality, and build healthier and more resilient communities.
This year communities will make the decision whether to join in or stay on the sideline. If you’re curious where your community stands, ask them. (Salt Lake City is currently full steam ahead!)
In the meantime, if you run a businesses or organization and would like to show that you support community efforts to achieve net-100% renewable electricity by 2030 though Utah’s Community Renewable Energy Program, consider taking the business pledge. Businesses will receive a social media toolkit and will appear on the Utah 100 website as a Business Champion. Take the business pledge here!
If you’re an individual who supports the program– thank you! Keep following us and the Utah 100 page for updates.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Utah 100 Communities, visit the program website at www.utah100communities.org.
More information about the proposed governance agreement as well as the budget structure are available in the links below: