Utah Clean Energy’s Executive Director, Sarah Wright, participated in a wide-ranging discussion of the future of Utah’s electricity grid and how to ensure reliable service in the face of wildfire and cybersecurity risks, as well as the transition to renewable energy resources before the Utah Legislature’s Public Utilities, Energy, and Technology Interim Committee on Wednesday, June 16. Legislators have been weighing how Utah should respond to blackouts in Texas and California that have occurred over the past year as a result of extreme weather. Participants from the state energy and state utilities regulatory agencies focused on the implications for Utah’s coal fleet and also potential new transmission projects.
Sarah delved into the need for Utah to actively prepare for a transition to more renewable energy and zero emissions electricity resources in her remarks. In particular, exploring Utah’s involvement in a regional electricity market, as Colorado and Nevada are requiring their electric utilities to do, can be an important way to integrate more renewables and make our grid more flexible. One other important idea is to explore how we can expand the use of distributed energy resources on the customer side of the meter (including rooftop solar, demand resource, batteries, advanced controls) to improve overall resiliency of our grid operations. You can see Sarah’s presentation here: https://le.utah.gov/interim/2021/pdf/00002627.pdf
Transportation Interim Committee Looks at Investing in Electric Vehicle Charging
In a hearing before the Utah Legislature’s Transportation Interim Committee, staff from the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) and the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) discussed how they are planning for and investing in electric vehicles and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The Legislature is actively discussing how to increase participation in the Road Usage Charge (RUC) program, which encourages electric vehicle and hybrid vehicle drivers to enroll in a program to pay for the miles they drive on the road through a per-mile charge. The Legislature is likely to attempt legislation to compel more Utah drivers to participate in the “RUC” program in January 2022.