Week #5 (Feb. 19-23)
Welcome to the week 5 roundup of clean energy in the Utah Legislation Session. Read on for an update on legislative items impacting EVs, renewable energy and climate from the past week. And don’t forget to check out Utah Clean Energy’s Legislative Tracker for a look at all of the clean energy legislation we are tracking.
Take Action: SB 136: Electric Vehicle Fees and Transportation Reform Legislation (Sen. Wayne Harper)
Utah Clean Energy is still highly concerned with the substantial new fees proposed for electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles in SB 136, the Transportation Governance bill. The current proposal (1st substitute SB 136) would impose an annual fee of $150 for electric vehicles ($194 total annual fee), $80 for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles ($124 total annual fee), and $20 for hybrid electric vehicles ($64 total annual fee). This would be the 3rd highest fee on electric vehicles in the nation. With no commitments from Legislators to lower the EV fees in SB 136, we encourage you to reach out to your state Senator and state representative TODAY to ask them to oppose the fee, and let them know that electric vehicles are a priority for improving Utah’s air quality. (More here).
Status: We expect the Senate to debate and vote on SB 136 shortly, either Friday (2/23) or Monday (2/25).
HB 261: Renewable Energy Amendments (Rep. John Knotwell)
HB 261 first substitute, Renewable Energy Amendments, by Rep. John Knotwell would amend Utah’s Energy Resource Procurement Act (Utah 54, Chapter 17) to allow Rocky Mountain Power to either construct or own a solar generation facility in a manner that enables them to capitalize the federal tax credit more favorably. The substitute bill includes provision to protect both consumers and competition. While this bill’s intent is to enable the utility to develop utility-scale solar projects, solar developers have expressed concerns that HB 261 could negatively impact the rooftop solar market. Utah Clean Energy agrees that this is a concern, and is supportive of an amendment to clarify the original intent of the bill.
Status: We expect HB 261 to be voted on in the full House shortly.
SB 141: Rooftop Solar Tax Credit Extension Legislation (Sen. Curtis Bramble)
SB 141-Electric Energy Amendments by Senator Curt Bramble would maintain the renewable energy systems tax credit for rooftop solar arrays at $1600 through 2020 and then phase out by 2024, as agreed to by parties in the Rocky Mountain Power net metering settlement agreement from last summer. It would also modify the net metering statute to clarify that the net metering program will close for Rocky Mountain Power customers on January 1, 2036.
Status: 3rd substitute SB 141 passed the full Senate this week, and moved over to the House where it has been referred to the House Business and Labor Committee.
SB 157: Residential Solar Energy Amendments (Sen. Lincoln Fillmore)
SB 157: Residential Solar Energy Amendments by Senator Lincoln Fillmore would require a retailer of residential solar energy systems to provide a written disclosure statement to residential customers seeking to purchase a solar energy system. SB 157 would require a solar retailer to disclose items such as estimated customer savings, future operations and maintenance services, how future local, state and federal legal changes may impact the solar customer’s investment, and information on the solar system components and warranty, among other items. SB 157 also authorizes the Division of Public Utilities to impose fines on solar retailers who violate the disclosure requirements in this legislation. Utah Clean Energy supports this bill, which is based on negotiations between the solar industry and state regulators.
Status: 1st substitute SB 157 is awaiting a vote on 2nd reading in the Senate.
HCR 7: Concurrent Resolution on Economic and Environmental Stewardship (Rep. Rebecca Edwards)
Representative Rebecca Edwards’ resolution is an important resolution on climate change and environmental stewardship, HCR 7, “Concurrent Resolution on Economic and Environmental Stewardship.” The resolution commits the Legislature and the Governor to the “use of sound science to address causes of a changing climate and support innovation and environmental stewardship in order to realize positive solutions.” This represents a significant step forward in our state policymaker’s discussion of the challenges that climate change may pose for our economy and local and state solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Status: 1st substitute HCR 7 awaits consideration by the full House, and will likely come up for a vote next week.
HCR 9: Concurrent Resolution Supporting Rural Development of Wind, Solar, and Geothermal Energy
The House Natural Resources, Environment, and Agriculture Committee held a hearing on Friday, February 9th on Representative Arent’s HCR 9, which encourages Utah to develop the solar, geothermal, and wind resources in Utah’s rural communities.
Status: 1st substitute HCR 9 is currently being held as a “circled” bill in the full House, pending negotiation of the language that deals with federal protections for public lands.