Environment: Clean and green
Power for the people
This story is found in the 2019 edition of Milepost.
Park City is really trying to be green even when it’s white outside. There is an anti-idling ordinance for your vehicle, bans on plastic bags at grocery stores, 46 new EV charging stations, curbside recycling, and even electric buses. But what’s next? A lot.
According to Park City’s Environmental Sustainability Manager, Luke Cartin, the fossil fuel footprint for resident business and local government is around $245 million every year. That includes all fossil-based energy imported, or used for visitation, such as airplanes and vehicles, which originates from all over the world, specifically for this resort town. Over $213 million of that total is from oil, $11 million spent on natural gas and $21 million from coal. That’s a staggering sum, and Park City is attempting to lead the way in changing those numbers.
Sustainability is obtainable with the correct plan, and Park City has vowed to hit net zero carbon emissions and rely on 100% renewable electricity in city operations by the year 2022; 2030 for the entire community. “It’s the most ambitious program in the nation,” says Cartin.
The goal is admirable. “For sustainability we have to start with energy,” says Park City Manager Diane Foster. “We have to work with the economics of the power company.” To that end, during the 2018 Utah legislative session, Park City partnered with Salt Lake City, Moab and Summit County to help sponsor legislation (HB411) to allow Rocky Mountain Power to offer a path for these customers to net-100% renewable energy. Those four entities represent 15% of all of Utah’s electricity, so the economics are powerful, and without this law the path to net-zero by 2030 would have been challenging.
It passed the state Senate 23-6 and was then signed by Governor Gary Herbert. Now the Utah Public Service Commission is defining the rules, rates and expectations for the for the program. Financial costs are borne by only these areas, and customers can opt out of the benefits if they wish. Supporters are hopeful that this program will be the blueprint for the future reduction in carbon emissions as renewable energy sources continue to grow and fossil fuels decline. It’s the future.
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