HEAL and local community leaders are working to make it so that Utahns can directly purchase renewable energy via our monthly electricity bills. This is currently not possible, even through the Blue Sky program Rocky Mountain Power offers.
Despite strong public support for renewable energy, Utah ranks near the bottom of all Western states for renewable energy production. Unfortunately, even though our citizens really want to change that — to buy wind and solar energy — there’s currently no way to translate that desire for renewable energy into greater production.
Community Energy Choice would allow cities or counties to pool their electricity demand in order to purchase power on behalf of their residents, businesses, and municipalities. Six states—California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, and Rhode Island—allow this kind of pooling (also called “Community Choice Aggregation” or CCA). The best example is in Marin County, Calif., where, via Marin Clean Energy, residents can choose to buy 50 or 100 percent renewable energy. The idea of the program is to allow consumers to use the power of the marketplace to boost renewable energy, reduce their carbon footprint, slash dangerous emissions from coal power and create green jobs locally. And they do all that at a rate just slightly higher than they were paying before.
We brought activist Megan Matson to Salt Lake City in 2012 to discuss her work making CCA a reality in California. Since then, we’ve educated local leaders on how Utah can do the same.
In the 2014 legislative session, Rep. Kraig Powell (R) proposed a Community Energy Choice bill (HB110) that would have authorized cities and counties to purchase renewable power on behalf of residents. Powell’s bill was ultimately referred to interim study, but HEAL and others are working hard to move Community Energy Choice forward.
You’ll be hearing a LOT more from HEAL in the coming months about how we can all work together to fight for Community Energy Choice. If you haven’t done so already, sign up on our email list to stay informed!