Week One of the 2019 Utah Legislative Session

Week One of the 2019 Utah Legislative Session
06 February 2019

New Opportunities for Energy Storage Systems

Senator Lincoln Fillmore (District 10, South Jordan) has sponsored legislation to help advance residential and commercial energy storage systems. SB 111, the Energy Storage Innovation, Research, and Grant Program Act, would create a $5 million grant program to help encourage adoption of energy storage systems. The grants would cover up to 20% of project costs, with up to $7,500 available for residential energy storage systems and up to $50,000 available for commercial energy storage systems.

Status: Kate Bowman, Utah Clean Energy’s Renewable Energy Program Manager, testified in favor of SB 111 at the hearing before the Senate Transportation, Public Utilities, Energy and Technology Committee on Monday, February 4, 2019, speaking to the resiliency and grid benefits of distributed energy storage technologies. The Senate Committee voted 5-2-1 to advance SB 111 to the Senate floor.

Resolution Supporting Rural Renewable Energy Development Moves Forward

Rep. Patrice Arent (District 36, Millcreek) has offered a resolution, House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 2, Concurrent Resolution Supporting Renewable and Sustainable Energy Options to Promote Rural Economic Development, which supports the development of solar, wind, geothermal, hydrogen and small conduit hydroelectric energy resources in rural Utah for the economic benefits that such projects can provide. The resolution has received support from a broad range of stakeholders, including rural Utah communities, clean energy advocates and developers, and others.

Status: The House of Representatives passed out HCR 1st Substitute by a vote of 72-1-2 last week. The resolution goes before the Senate Transportation, Public Utilities, Energy and Technology Committee on Wednesday, February 6, 2019.

Expanding Energy Efficiency Programs for Low-Income Households

Utah Clean Energy is supporting an effort to expand energy efficiency programs for low-income homeowners through the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). Representative Steve Handy (District 16, Layton) is sponsoring a request for appropriation (RFA) to provide $1.5 million in state funding for WAP programs. This proven program saves participating households an average of 35 percent on their energy bills, critically important for homeowners whose energy burden is often as high as 14% of their income (see an infographic here). Currently the state provides no funding to this program, with the vast majority of funding coming from the federal government. The additional funds would allow the program to reach about 120 more households each year.

Status: This request will be heard before the Business, Economic Development, and Labor Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday, February 6.

Other Bills We’re Watching