Summit Community Power Works merges with Utah Clean Energy
When Georgetown University’s national energy-saving competition ended, Summit Community Power Works, the local nonprofit organization that spearheaded the county’s entry, attempted to regroup.
Throughout the duration of the contest, SCPW led several community-wide initiatives to reduce residential and municipal consumption of electricity and natural gas. But, when the competition ended without a clear winner, the organization undertook an effort to redefine its objectives.
Mark Tourangeau, SCPW’s former board chair, said the board ultimately concluded that the organization could better serve the community if it merged with a larger organization. He said the board considered several nonprofit organizations before ultimately selecting Utah Clean Energy. The advocacy group specializes in clean energy policy and works to ensure alternatives, such as solar and wind, are more affordable and accessible.
“We did a quick survey of the nonprofits that were aligned with our goals and had that reach and breadth,” he said. “It became apparent that they were the best match for us and they were very open to the idea.”
SCPW has been working closely with Utah Clean Energy over the last two months as it transitions into a dedicated program operating under the auspices of Utah Clean Energy. Tourangeau said an SCPW website will be maintained and that there will still be visible branding.
“We made certain in talking with Utah Clean Energy that it would retain its identity and exist as a dedicated program under Utah Clean Energy,” he said. “I hope that there will be an advisory board comprised of people that live in the community.”
Tourangeau said he fully supports the move and commended the efforts of Utah Clean Energy. He added, “They have a long history of working toward sustainable and renewable energy goals in the state.”
“We all wouldn’t have done it if we didn’t think it would be a good thing for SCPW, Summit County and Park City,” he said.
The integration of SCPW with Utah Clean Energy essentially dissolves the SCPW board and the position of executive director. Erin Bragg, who has held the position since Sept. 1, offered her support of the decision.
“I think the relationship is a really good and a smart move because Utah Clean Energy has the staff and the resources to help bring the organization back to life the way it was viewed during the Georgetown prize,” she said.
Bragg admitted that the organization sat dormant for nearly nine months after the energy competition concluded. But, she said she spent most of her time as executive director trying to bring the organization’s mission back to the forefront — something that proved to be too difficult for one person.
“I wasn’t surprised,” she said. “I had heard talk of it previously so I knew it could be an option. It makes sense to move into an organization that has an established staff and procedures. It feels good to have a name that is recognizable too.”
Brandy Smith, communications and development director for Utah Clean Energy, reiterated Bragg’s point. She said the partnership between the two organizations seemed like a natural transition. It allows Utah Clean Energy to have a more noticeable presence in Summit County and Park City, she said.
“The main thing we want to make sure, above all, is that the success and work that has already happened continues moving past the Georgetown prize,” she said. “We want to make sure those programs are there for the long term, under the helm of Utah Clean Energy. We want to help Summit County and Park City reach their carbon goals.”
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Utah’s legislative general session is set to end on Friday, and if history is any indicator, there will be a flurry of floor amendments and last-minute changes for county officials to monitor.