Burning fossil fuels for energy releases significant greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) into the air. Large industrial facilities that produce energy, like coal plants, are the key source for these emissions. With the rapid improvements in large-scale wind and solar energy generation, as well as innovations in battery storage, depending on fossil fuels for our energy is becoming obsolete.
HEAL uses energy modeling, independent analysts, and legal consultants to map out feasible paths to retiring coal plants here in Utah, that won’t result in a lag in energy availability or serious financial strain on the utilities or ratepayers. We collaborate with Utah’s main utilities to show them that replacing their coal plants with renewable energy is a realistic option that will benefit them and their customers. And, when necessary, we call upon the public to pressure our utilities to accelerate this transition. We keep coal communities at the forefront of the conversation to ensure that there are sustainable reinvestment strategies for their communities.
CLEAN ENERGY TRANSITION
Transitioning to a clean energy future will require phasing out dirty power plants. But phasing out these sources of electricity is more complicated than just flipping a switch to turn them off. Despite the many complicated considerations — which range from economic feasibility to transmission concerns — it’s still possible to transition away from dirty energy to clean, renewable energy.
With these concerns in mind, HEAL is developing pathways to accelerate this transition with a special focus on incentive-based approaches. To create this pathway, we are negotiating with Utah’s main utility, Rocky Mountain Power, educating and working with legislators, and consulting independent, technical, and legal experts to map out a smart, financially feasible path to clean energy a reality. We expect to introduce major legislation in 2020 to lay the legal groundwork for this to happen.
COAL COMMUNITY TRANSITION
HEAL understands that the retirement of coal plants is a contentious issue that doesn’t always have immediately positive outcomes for everyone, especially the local communities that are directly affected by a plant closure. That’s why we are prioritizing these local communities in our plans for coal plant retirement. By speaking with them and then working with policymakers and the utility, we can better plan for the necessary economic transition and mitigate negative impacts on these communities. Some of these plans can include job training and requiring community reinvestment funds as part of any plan for coal plant retirement.