Many local communities in the United States are trying their best to decrease greenhouse gas emissions despite no federal action about climate change. As of now, over 150 states, counties, and cities all over America have committed to 100% net-renewable power, which will be produced from renewable sources like geothermal, wind, and solar. These counties have already passed resolutions that will ensure this is achieved in the next few years. Some cities such as Colorado, Alaska, Kodiak, Texas, Kansas, and Missouri have already attained this goal.
More than 23 counties and cities in Utah have already committed to adopting 100% renewable power before 2030. The big question is how Utah achieved 100% renewable power, yet it is a coal-dependent state. First, they started by urging Rocky Mountain Power, which supplies them with fossil fuels, to generate and supply people with clean, renewable power. They also urged all businesses and city residents to adopt 100% renewable power.
The cities cooperated with Summit County, which passed a new resolution. This led to legislation, the 2019 Community Renewable Energy Act (CREA), which urged the utility to purchase only renewable power resources and produce renewable energy in bulk for the city residents. Rocky Mountain Power was authorized not to increase power rates outside the program due to extra costs related to purchasing renewable power. There was a stipulation by CREA that the new costs related to renewable power purchase should be designated to cities supplied with this renewable electricity.
CREA then set a timeline to join the procurement program for all other Utah cities. As a result, all the 23 counties and cities all over Utah started embracing the renewable power pledge. Some of these counties and cities include Ogden, Orem, West Jordan, West Valley City, and Salt Lake County, mostly populated.
Lastly, CREA urged that all businesses and residents would participate in the program by default, such that if they do not want to continue with the program, they can opt-out. CREA’s essential element was automatic enrolment provision assuming that its people’s social norm to accept defaults. Therefore, they expected that few would automatically opt-out of this renewable power program.
CREA has set a good example to other cities, states, and counties across the country to adopt and implement 100% net-renewable power resolutions. The only big challenge is Utah’s ability to hold these counties, states, and cities together in the upcoming years before the program becomes fully accepted.