Utahns are lucky. Our state has an abundance of waste-free, carbon-free, renewable sources of energy. Yet as our air gets dirtier and our climate hotter and drier, just 0.5% of our energy generation comes from renewable sources.
We can and must do better. As the Utah State Legislative Session begins this week we have a chance to do just that. This session, Sen. Scott McCoy (D-Salt Lake) is sponsoring a bill that sets a standard of 25% of electricity coming from renewable sources by 2025, while also promising renewable energy development in rural Utah. 26 states already have similar standards, though none have ever been proposed in Utah.
Unfortunately, Rocky Mountain Power--the state's largest electric utility--is pushing a competing bill that could stifle renewable energy development in Utah. This bill, sponsored by Sen. Curt Bramble (R-Provo), puts Rocky Mountain Power in the driver's seat while giving the utility every opportunity and excuse to put the brakes on actually delivering renewable energy to Utahns.
Join HEAL Utah, the Sierra Club, and others next Wednesday for a citizen lobby day and press conference to support the "real McCoy" renewable energy standard and help us show the legislature that Utahns want meaningful renewable energy legislation now.
What: “Real McCoy” Renewable Energy Citizen Lobby Day and Press Conference
Where: Utah State Capitol Rotunda
When: Wednesday, January 30th
11:45am - 12:30pm Press Conference
9:30am - 11:30am Citizen Lobbying (see below for details)
Even though 92% of Utahns polled support increased government incentives and investment in renewable energy, Rocky Mountain Power's bill is nothing more than a wolf in sheep's clothing that could stall renewable energy development in Utah for decades.
While the utility's bill sets an "aspirational goal" of 20% renewable energy by 2025, it is entirely voluntary and up to Rocky Mountain Power's whim to comply or not. Incredibly, the proposal includes no intermediate benchmarks or plan to go from where we are today at 0.5% renewable energy to the 20% goal. And, it would allow dirty power like nuclear and coal with carbon sequestration to reduce the renewable energy goal.
Worst of all, the bill guarantees Rocky Mountain Power a monopoly on Utah's wind and solar resources by preventing small-scale renewable energy developers from entering the market. That means the businesses, communities, and entrepreneurs that are actually doing the work right now to deliver Utah's renewable resources to Utahns would no longer be allowed to compete.
That's like Congress deciding that because GM manufactures Hummers, they should be the only car company allowed to put hybrids on the road.
Rocky Mountain Power builds large, centralized coal and gas-fired power plants, which does not necessarily make them the best company to bring renewables to the market. So why should the State Legislature guarantee Rocky Mountain Power a monopoly on that market? It's an outrageous proposal that flies in the face of the free-enterprise, entrepreneurial spirit our elected leaders claim to hold dear.
Thankfully, Sen. McCoy's bill is the real deal. It helps identify where the state's best renewable energy resources are located and establishes an enforceable renewable energy standard of 25% to make sure those resources are actually developed. The Real McCoy doesn't include the handouts, caveats, and loopholes that pervade Rocky Mountain Power's bill. In other words, it delivers renewable energy to Utahns and creates a market to attract clean energy jobs and investment to our state.
Can you join us next Wednesday, January 30th, to stand with Sen. McCoy andsupport his plan for Utah's renewable energy future? We need your support to make sure the Legislature does more than pay lip service to renewable energy this legislative session.
To participate in our citizen lobby day, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and look for the HEAL Utah/Sierra Club table in the East Building cafeteria any time between 9:30 and 11:30am (you don't need any experience-we'll give you pointers and a quick tutorial when you arrive at the check-in table). And make sure to join us in the Capitol Building Rotunda at 11:45am for the press conference.