OGDEN — The option for residents to receive electricity through renewable means is closer to reality after a $37,000 payment by Ogden City to Rocky Mountain Power needed for participation in the Community Renewable Energy Program.
To Ogden City Councilwoman Angela Choberka, the payment, believed to have been made with council funds, is to be used for consulting, legal fees and preliminary costs in accordance with agreements with RMP and other municipalities in the program.
Choberka said the point of the program, which was established by the Community Renewable Energy Act during the 2019 Utah session, is to join agencies and other municipalities in sharing the sharing of establishing renewable energy.
According to the Community Renewable Energy Agency, also called Utah 100 Communities, 23 city or county governments have so far passed resolutions signing on to the program, which aims to transition all power delivered to partnering areas to net-100% renewable electricity by 2030.
Other interested locales include Alta, Castle Valley, Coalville, Cottonwood Heights, Emigration Canyon, Francis, Grand County, Holladay, Kearns, Millcreek, Moab, Oakley, Ogden, Park City, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Springdale and Summit County.
Ogden City signed a governance agreement on March 31, 2021, specifying how participating communities will make decisions and share implementation costs. The agreement is meant to provide a means of ensuring all parties the ability to reach a single, joint decision on necessary program issues, as well as the implementation of the program in their respective communities.
“One of the biggest hurdles in working with multiple municipalities is negotiating with RMP and the commission,” Choberka said.
The Ogden City Council has had ongoing discussions about participation in the renewable energy initiative since the legislation’s passage. A frequent sticking point for council members was concerned about increased costs for residents, particularly those with limited incomes. In the long term, however, energy costs are expected to be lower for everyone, according to Choperka.
The Low-income Committee, tasked with exploring how best to bring renewable energy to those who may not be able to afford it, would need approval from the Public Service Commission of Utah before any cost-effective measures could be taken.
According to RMP Spokesman David Eskelsen, the utility provider is currently working with communities to determine the specifics of the program design. Upon completion, RMP will file an application with the commission.
As additional information is determined, including program costs, each participating community will be required to pass an ordinance in order to participate in the final program, Eskelsen said.