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Will Utah Invest in Clean Energy?


In the next 20 years, over $200 billion dollars will be invested on energy resources in the West that will last long into the future. The decisions made today will have lasting consequences to Utah's air, economy, health and environment. PacifiCorp (Rocky Mountain Power's parent company) lays out the resources they plan to add in Utah over the next 20 years in their Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), released on April 30, 2013. Our friends at Utah Clean Energy have been analyzing the nearly-600 page document and have provided a quick summary of the aspects of the IRP that will most significantly affect Utah's clean energy ecosystem:

  • Energy Efficiency: Good news on the energy efficiency front! At the suggestion of Utah Clean Energy, PacifiCorp found that increased and faster investments in energy efficiency programs resulted in a cheaper, less risky energy portfolio. So PacifiCorp has committed to accelerating their efficiency programs. This will likely mean more or improved energy efficiency incentives for businesses and citizens. More efficiency programs is good news for Utah ratepayers and the environment.

  • Distributed Solar: Solar continues to shine bright! Utah Clean Energy asked PacifiCorp to model an expanded distributed solar rebate program in Utah and the model selected everything that PacifiCorp allowed it to-about 15 MW per year out to 2032 for a total of almost 300 MW over the next 20 years. This shows that utility incentive programs for distributed solar are part of a least cost, least risk plan for ratepayers. And, given that the model selected all of the available solar, it tells us that even more than 300 MW of distributed solar in Utah is in the public interest.

  • Utility Scale Renewables: PacifiCorp's proposed plan does not build any utility scale renewables until 2024, and they are proposing to use unbundled renewable energy credits to meet their RPS obligations until that point.

  • Coal Plant Retirements: While the plan calls for about 1500 MW of coal plant retirements-which we consider a smart move from a cost, risk, and climate standpoint-we will be digging into their assumptions to be sure that they are adequately modeling air and water quality upgrade requirements and making sure that they are looking at the full cost-risk trade-off for all their coal plants.

Utah Clean Energy is a non-profit, non-partisan public interest organization partnering to build the new clean energy economy. RenewableTech Ventures is a member of the Utah Clean Energy Business Coalition. To learn more, contact Utah Clean Energy at or 801-363-4046.