Record editorial: Summit County residents will reap rewards of renewable energy program
Talk about ending the decade on an uplifting note.
In recent months, nearly every local government in Summit County signed on to a new statewide program that will allow their residents to purchase 100% renewable energy from Rocky Mountain Power by 2030.
Advocates have rightfully hailed the program, borne out of state legislation passed last year, as a milestone achievement in the push for communities to reduce their carbon footprints. Thanks to their elected officials, residents who live in Park City, Coalville, Francis, Oakley, Kamas and unincorporated Summit County are poised to be among the first people in Utah who will have the choice of using the program to power their homes and businesses with clean energy.
Summit County and Park City deserve immense credit, alongside Salt Lake City, for doing the heavy lifting required over the last few years to get the legislation enabling the program passed through the state Legislature last year.
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The commitment of Summit County and Park City to the effort was unsurprising since it aligns with the sustainability priorities of both governments and the ambitious carbon goals they’ve set.
But the city councils of the other municipalities also stepped up in a big way, proving that there is a desire on the East Side for the kind of benefits the program promises to provide. In an October Council of Governments meeting, some East Side mayors did not initially seem enthusiastic about the program, so it was heartening to see they and other elected officials in their towns eventually get on board after they learned more.
Residents eager to utilize clean energy should understand there are still hurdles before that actually happens, however.
Each of the 20 municipalities in the state that pledged to participate in the program will be asked to help pay for Rocky Mountain Power to analyze how it will meet the new demand for renewable energy. The communities can still back out if they determine the costs they would have to shoulder — yet undetermined — are too great.
There might, of course, be good reason to do so if, say, Kamas was asked to pay as much as Salt Lake City. But if the cost burden is equitable, the local governments in Summit County should move forward and make access to renewable energy a reality.
Their residents, to say nothing of an environment in dire need of protection, will thank them.
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Our view: Against a once-unimaginable backdrop, and with little margin for error, county officials have made painful but prudent decisions in an attempt to spare us from the worst of the pandemic.