Low-cost Clean Energy

Save Money, Help the Environment

David Eskelsen Nov 1, 2017

Utahns want more renewable energy but don’t want to pay extra for it, according to a 2015 landmark study by Envision Utah. This year Rocky Mountain Power announced a plan that helps solve the conundrum between costs and clean energy. It plans to spend $3.5 billion to develop new wind projects — the lowest-cost option to provide energy to its customers. 

Energy Vision 2020

The Energy Vision 2020 plan will invest that money to do the following:

● Add up to 1,270 megawatts of new wind farms by 2020, which will provide enough electricity to power the equivalent of 190,000 homes.

● “Repower” existing company-owned wind projects with longer blades and newer technology to increase energy production and extend their life.

Federal tax credits are helping cover the costs of these investments and will provide a net savings to customers over the life of the projects.

“This really is a win-win plan for our customers,” says Cindy A. Crane, Rocky Mountain Power CEO and president.

Search for Renewable Energy

The company is already the second-largest rate-regulated owner of wind energy in the country, but it has continued to find other ways to provide renewable choices for customers at increasingly lower costs.

For example, this year customers can get power from the sun without installing rooftop solar panels. The Subscriber Solar program allows customers to purchase solar power from a 20-megawatt wind farm in central Utah. There are no upfront costs, and customers can lock in their generation rates for 20 years and even transfer their subscription to a new location if they move to another home served by Rocky Mountain Power.

Savings for Businesses

Business customers can also use renewable energy in addition to the Subscriber Solar program. The Sustainable Transportation and Energy Plan allows Rocky Mountain Power to build or purchase renewable power specifically for a business. State regulators approved this special rate when Facebook was considering building a data center in Utah in 2016.

“Through these many programs, we can offer customized, cost-effective renewable energy options to our customers,” Crane says. “As the largest electricity provider in the state, we recognize that our services are a significant component of the state’s business-friendly environment.”

Supporting Blue Skies

The company’s Blue Sky program is another way for customers to voluntarily support renewable energy. More than 113,000 Blue Sky customers have helped support more than 6.9 billion kilowatt-hours of renewable energy being delivered to the power grid in the West over the past 17 years.

Of course, the cleanest energy is the energy you don’t use. Business and residential customers are taking advantage of the company’s wattsmart energy efficiency program, which in 2016 helped customers install upgrades that will save them more than $116 million in energy costs over the life of these projects.

“Rocky Mountain Power will keep looking for ways to use more renewable energy in a way that doesn’t raise costs,” Crane says. “The future for renewable energy continues to look very bright.” 

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