Renewable power relationships still strong in Utah

Apr 24, 2024, 7:00 AM | Updated: Apr 26, 2024, 4:11 pm

A photovoltaic panel shines in the sun at the Appaloosa Solar 1 project near Cedar City. Rocky Moun...

A shining example of renewable power in Utah: A photovoltaic panel shines in the sun at the Appaloosa Solar 1 project near Cedar City on Thursday, June 8, 2023. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

(Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

Editors’s note: This article has been corrected for a significant fact error. We previously reported that Rocky Mountain Power ended its relationship with Utah Renewable Communities. That is inaccurate. Rocky Mountain Power remains fully involved with the program. We apologize for the error.

MILLCREEK, Utah — Rocky Mountain Power remains committed to a renewable energy program with communities around Utah.

However, the power agency canceled a 2022 All Source Request for Proposals, spokesman David Eskelsen said.

“[Resource acquisition is] a process we use after our biennial resource planning to call for competitive bids for projects that the company [Rocky Mountain Power] has interest in buying or building,” Eskelsen said. “[The 2022 RFP was], in fact, canceled, but it doesn’t have any direct impact on the Utah Renewable Communities Program.”

Renewable energy: a pause, not a setback

Earlier this month, PacifiCorp, RMP’s parent company, published an update to its plans. The upshot: The company will scale back the acquisition of renewable resources soon. PacifiCorp plans to detail restarting that process in its 2025 update. 

Millcreek Mayor Jeff Silvestrini told KSL NewsRadio he plans to keep working with RMP. He also described some disappointment over the resource acquisition piece.

“Their announcement that they were going to discontinue [the resource solicitation/clean energy acquisition], at least temporarily or until they reassess that, was kind of a disappointment, really because they have the expertise to know what they’re looking for or what fits into their grid, and they’re obviously more — they have more expertise in negotiating for and purchasing power-producing assets than cities do,” Silvestrini said.  “We’re going to forge ahead with this. And we will try to collaborate with them where we can, because obviously everything that we decide to do has to also work on their grid.” 

Utah Renewable Communities has power company backing

Eskelsen said RMP helped create Utah Renewable Communities in 2019. He said it helps lawmakers create legislation. In addition, Eskelsen said the agency has helped communities in other ways, like securing a new special rate tariff at the Public Service Commission of Utah.  

He said that allows “communities who want to contract directly with renewable energy projects to be able to do that,” either with Rocky Mountain Power’s help or on their own.

“And so that relationship and that program is still fully operative and… we’re a full participant in it,” Eskelsen said.  

Eskelsen said the decision to cancel the 2022 RFP resulted from a change in Rocky Mountain Power’s needs over time.  

Related: New program aims to use renewable energy to power Utah communities by 2030

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Renewable power relationships still strong in Utah