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Posts from the ‘Air Quality’ Category

Coming Together on Climate

Mayors Climate Picture

Mayor Biskupski meets with local elected officials from across Utah to discuss policies to address climate change.

Last week, Mayor Biskupski brought together mayors and councilmembers from nine other Utah communities to discuss what local government can do to address climate change.

The latest data about fossil fuel consumption and associated pollution is deeply troubling. For the first time in hundreds of thousands of years, the Earth hit a monthly average of 410 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 in the atmosphere.

But we still have a window to act. That’s why it’s critical for local governments to drive policies that reduce energy consumption, catalyze renewable energy development, and transform our transportation sector.

In addition to creating our own plan, Climate Positive SLCwe need to work together to achieve the kind of change our planet and future requires.

That’s why the Mayor has taken leadership roles in a number of high-profile networks, including Sierra Club’s Mayors for 100% Clean EnergyClimate Mayors, and locally with Path to Positive Utah. She was also recently appointed to chair the Alliance for a Sustainable Future Committee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

It’s also important, as Utah’s capital city, for us to lead locally and share the expertise and experience we have with other cities and towns. We can and must be stronger together.

That was the intention behind last week’s meeting, which was co-hosted with the Salt Lake City chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. It garnered interest from mayors and councilmembers from Utah cities and towns representing 750,000 residents which is 24 percent of the state’s total population.

READ MORE VIA THE MAYOR’S BLOG . . .

How is Salt Lake City Getting to 100%?

SLCgreen‘s Division Director Debbie Lyons and Program Manager Tyler Poulson are presenting a webinar to a national audience on April 19th detailing Salt Lake City’s ambitious climate goals. Wondering how we’re getting to net-100% clean electricity? Sign up to listen live or to access the recording!

As part of that, we’re also excited to be featured in the Sustainable City Network magazine. We’ve included an excerpt here. 

SLC Library skyline

Sign up for our April 19 webinar “Moving the Needle Innovative Climate Solutions in Salt Lake City” at: http://bit.ly/2qoCSi3

 

By Randy Rodgers
Publisher & Executive Editor, Sustainable City Network

Things are heating up in Salt Lake City, Utah. And not in a good way.

The city is located in a region of the U.S. that climate scientists say is warming at more than twice the national average. It would be bad enough if the only victim of that problem was the area’s $1.3 billion ski resort industry, but local leaders know the stakes are higher than that, as water reserves decline and air quality reaches dangerous levels.

As daunting as these threats appear, Salt Lake City’s municipal government has partnered with its local electric utility to make an historic commitment that could become a model for all communities facing the dire effects of climate change in the years to come. The city and Rocky Mountain Power have signed an agreement and drafted a plan to acquire all the community’s electricity from renewable sources by 2032, reducing emissions, saving water and improving air quality in the process.

Salt Lake City gets most of its water from snowmelt in the surrounding mountains, and the city’s water reserves are significantly below historical norms. Higher temperatures are also accelerating the production of ground-level ozone, an invisible, odorless gas that can cause permanent damage to the lungs. Last year the city’s air exceeded the federal ozone standard on more than 20 days.

City officials are bracing for more of the same.

“The climate models show us that we’ll probably get about the same amount of overall precipitation, but it’s going to be coming as rain rather than snow,” said Vicki Bennett, the city’s sustainability department director. That means more of the water runs off in the spring, making less of it available later in the year. She said rising temperatures tend to increase water demand, which only exacerbates the problem.

Last year the Salt Lake County Health Department released a Climate Adaptation Plan for Public Health, which warned of many other health concerns related to the rising temperatures and altered precipitation patterns caused by climate change.

READ MORE AT SUSTAINABLE CITIES NETWORK

Clear the Air Challenge 2018 Recap

SLC Corp Employees doing #ClearTheAirChallenge

We’re excited to let you know the winners of the SLC Corp 2018 Clear the Air Challenge. You may recall that this year we organized an internal bracket between SLC Corp departments to complement the statewide competition.  The internal winner of the most brackets would ultimately win the “Mayor’s Cup” for their efforts.

 

Read more

Check out our Roadmap for Electrified Transportation!

 

EV Roadmap image

Pop-out doors, instant acceleration, electric bikes, autonomous electric ride-share programs. . . the future is exciting when it comes to electrified transportation.

And, in many cases, the future is here. So local governments better get ready!

That’s why we’re excited to introduce you to a new report SLCgreen recently co-produced with Utah Clean Energy.

The Electrified Transportation Roadmap describes 25 steps that local governments can take to accelerate the electric transportation revolution.

The Roadmap outlines how local governments can implement a variety of electric powered modes of transit including electric vehicles (EVs), e-bikes, electric transit, and electrified ridesharing.

Salt Lake City has integrated a number of these best practices into our internal operations, and we’re now working toward more community-scale projects as part of our Climate Positive SLC plan.

As the capital city’s sustainability department, we also believe it’s important to share what we’ve learned with other local governments.

That’s the idea behind the Roadmap—as well as a workshop we organized March 14 with representatives from 16 local governments across the Wasatch Front to talk about best practices and to view EV options from a variety of local dealers. Read more

Update on EV Fees and Banning the Plastic Bag Ban

Utah Capitol

We’re in the final two weeks of Utah’s legislative session, which means we’re in for a wild ride full of twists, turns, and surprises until 11:59 pm on March 8.

SB 136: High Fees on Electric Vehicles and Transit Overhaul

SLCgreen and the Mayor’s Office are following many of the air quality-related bills.  In particular, as we alerted you to recently, we are concerned about the high proposed registration fees for electric and hybrid vehicles in SB0136 (though we support the funding mechanisms for more transit).

There have been a number of changes and attempted substitutions with this bill. Unfortunately, as of February 28, the fees for all-electric vehicles remain at $194/year. The fee structure also imposes changes for hybrid electric ($92/year) and plug-in hybrid vehicles ($124/year). Fees are going up on all vehicles. Standard gasoline vehicles will now pay $72/year.

However, the singling-out of clean vehicles is troubling. For those of us who care about clean air, the proposed EV fees are a significant set-back, especially coming the year after the state tax credit for electric vehicles was also rolled back.

Salt Lake City signed on to a coalition letter from Utah Clean Energy with other local governments and businesses opposing the fee. The bill has passed the Senate and now moves to the House. There’s still time to make your voice heard with your state representatives. Find your legislators here.

SB 218: Plastic Bags – Ban the Bans?
Read more

Free EV Charging at Salt Lake City Level 2 Stations

o87560Salt Lake City is committed to advancing clean air and one of the most significant ways we can do that is to support the growth of electric vehicles (EVs).

Compared to a new gasoline car, an EV puts out 99% fewer local air pollutants. That makes EVs a big player in our work to clear the air– particularly as our population grows and more vehicles enter our roadways each year.

The good news is that Utahns are buying more and more clean vehicles, but we have a long way to go– these vehicles currently make up less than 0.45% of the market. (This is one reason we don’t want to see high annual registration fees).

One of the ways the City is encouraging the continued growth in EV ownership is by building public charging infrastructure to alleviate “range anxiety.” We currently have 28 public charging ports around the city and are building a couple dozen more this year, including at the Airport!

We’re also excited to let you know that the City Council– on the recommendation of the Administration–voted to waive charging fees, effective immediately.

The $1.00 connection charge and $0.10/kWh fee was put in place last spring to recover the cost for using the station, and to ensure the stations are not being monopolized.  We’ll continue to monitor usage and may re-institute the fee at an appropriate time.

But what’s this going to cost you might ask? We estimated an annual financial impact of up to $12,000 in utility costs associated with providing free electricity at existing stations. We also conservatively estimate it will cost $13,000 annually to cover electricity costs at the soon-to-be-unveiled EV stations at the airport.

Salt Lake City received a grant from the Department of Environmental Quality to install the latest round of charging stations– thank you! We’re now happy to continue supporting the expansion of clean vehicles and clean infrastructure in Salt Lake City with free charging.

Do you drive an electric vehicle? Are you on the fence about getting one? Let us know what you think!

CLICK HERE TO SEE STATION LOCATIONS

Electric Vehicle Registration Fees May Skyrocket

Do you drive an electric or hybrid vehicle? Do you breathe the air along the Wasatch Front?

If either of those are true, we encourage you to pay attention to the “Transportation Governance Amendments Bill (SB0136)” going through the state legislature.

It is rapidly making its way through the session and, as of February 13, will be heard by the full Senate in the coming days, followed by the House of Representatives.

Overall, we support the bill because of the many good things it would do for funding public transit and road improvements.  You can read more via the Salt Lake Tribune.

However, the bill also proposes significant increases in the annual vehicle registration fees for all-electric and hybrid-electric vehicles, which are troubling.

We encourage you to learn about the bill and contact your elected officials if you’re concerned about the high fees proposed on electric vehicles– a stymie to clearing the air– even though the bill offers other positive changes.

For an all-electric vehicle, your annual registration fee would increase from $44 to $194.

For a hybrid, the fee would jump from $44 to $65. For all other vehicles, the fees remain at $44.

It is only electric vehicles that are being targeted for annual increases. Read more