September 26th to October 2nd marks the 5th annual Utah Climate Week! In Utah, we’ve experienced extreme heat, drought, and smoke from nearby wildfires all summer. Climate Week is an opportunity to work with local leaders to identify the impacts of climate change locally, and collaborate on solutions to ensure an equitable and resilient future for all Utahns.
Climate Week is organized by the Utah Climate Action Network, consists of local governments, non-profits, faith based organizations, businesses, and individuals who are working to build a more sustainable community. Each year, Climate Week gives us a chance to connect with each other and find solutions to the threat of climate change.
We need everyone’s help to Act on Climate in Utah and around the globe. There are many ways to take action, including investing in solar panels at your home, reducing your meat consumption, being mindful about energy use around the house, and finding ways to improve air quality like taking public transit or biking rather than driving.
Whether you’re a seasoned environmental advocate or you’re just starting out, Utah Climate Week is a chance to learn about the unique issues Utah faces as human caused climate change impacts our health, access to food, livelihoods, and communities. Participating in Utah Climate Week can help you find ways to Act On Climate all year.
We have some exciting news! Check out the below press release for details on Salt Lake City’s legislative progress toward our Climate Positive goals.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: APRIL 22, 2019
Mountain Power partnered with local governments to support passage of the
Community Renewable Energy Act which authorizes a path to net-100% renewable
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.”
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.
SLCgreen staff member Tyler Poulson on a tour of a large solar farm in Parowan, Utah, 2015.
Check out Tyler Poulson, Salt Lake City’s sustainability program manager, on the HEAL Utah podcast! He chats with HEAL’s Matt Pacenza about several key climate and energy issues including Utah Climate Week, coming up October 8-14. Tyler also offers his take on the recent rooftop solar settlement reached between Rocky Mountain Power and other stakeholders.
Organized by the Utah Climate Action Network, Utah Clean Energy, and Salt Lake City, Climate Week will provide an inspiring opportunity for community members to learn of the risks and breakthrough solutions to climate change.
Mayor Biskupski will offer opening remarks on our Climate Positive goals and SLCgreen team member Tyler Poulson will participate on the panel discussing what cities in Utah are doing to transition to clean energy. Other panelists include HEAL Utah, the Sierra Club, and Rocky Mountain Power. Utah Clean Energy will moderate the discussion.
We’ll start the evening with a 60-minute screening of Episode 6 of the Emmy-award winning series Years of Living Dangerously. This will be followed by a 30-minute panel with our local experts. Episode 6 of the series focuses on methane leaks from natural gas operations, lobbying forces in America and home-grown renewable energy solutions.
Sarah Wright is the founder and Executive Director of Utah Clean Energy, a non-profit partnering to build the new clean energy economy in Utah for the past 15 years. She leads a team that collaborates with government, private sector and other community partners to stop energy waste while simultaneously building a smarter energy future.
Sarah is an intervener in regulatory proceedings and an expert witness in legislative hearings, testifying in support of energy efficiency and renewable energy. Sarah has a Bachelor’s Degree in Geology from Bradley University and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Utah.
Matt Pacenza joined HEAL Utah five years ago and began serving as Executive Director in 2015. HEAL is a non-profit that promotes renewable energy and advocates for enhanced public health while opposing toxic harms to the environment.
Matt has managed HEAL’s policy agenda on nuclear waste, energy and clean air issues and now leads the organization’s staff, program and budgets. Matt has a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Policy from Cornell University and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from New York University. From the east coast, he now happily calls “Sugarhood” his home.
On Wednesday, Dr. Michael Mann – one of the world’s most highly respected climate change scientists – gathered with SLCgreen program director Debbie Lyons, Salt Lake City water resources manager Laura Briefer, BYU geologist Barry Brickmore, University of Utah atmospheric scientist Court Strong and HEAL Utah policy director Matt Pacenza to call for immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Mann is the scholar behind the striking “hockey stick” graph demonstrating a sharp post-industrial increase in temperature.