We’re in Week 3 of Utah’s legislative session and the clean energy and climate picture is starting to take shape! A few highlights below, and you can see the most up-to-date pieces of legislation on our legislative tracker at https://utahcleanenergy.org/2022-legislative-session/.
Spotlight: Electric Vehicles and Charging Equipment
There are three bills and one appropriations request dealing with electric vehicles underway
Addressing Electric Vehicle Road Use Charges: HB 186 -Vehicle Registration Amendments (2nd substitute) sponsored by Representative Ray Ward (R-Bountiful)
This is an attempt by Representative Ward to create a compromise on how electric vehicles (EVs) pay for road use in Utah. Thanks to your help, we defeated a hefty fee increase proposed during last’s year legislative session. This year’s bill increases EV fees in phases over the next 9 years ($180+inflation starting in 2026 and then $240+inflation by 2032). In addition, the bill would reduce the per-mile charge for EV drivers who participate in the state’s Road Usage Charge (RUC) program (1.0 cents/mile today, 1.25 cents/mile in 2026, and back up to 1.5 cents/mile in 2032). We do not generally support electric vehicle fees and we are watching this bill closely to make sure that amendments do not increase fees from the current version. Stay tuned! UCE Position: Not opposed, watching
Protecting Access to EV Charging: HB 189-Electric Vehicle Charging Modifications sponsored by Representative Joel Briscoe (D-Salt Lake City)
This bill seeks to prohibit homeowners associations, condominium associations, and apartment associations from preventing residents from installing their own individual electric vehicle (EV) charging equipment. We support this bill. Under HB 189, associations could make certain requirements about installation and insurance, but cannot prohibit EV chargers outright or place unduly high fees. This bill was supposed to be heard in House Business and Labor Committee on Friday, Jan. 25, but was held for further negotiation. We plan to talk further with the sponsor and stakeholders about this bill to ensure that it gets a hearing. UCE Position: Support
Funding for Rural Electric Vehicle Charging
Governor Cox requested $3 million in his FY23 budget for rural electric vehicle charging equipment through a program to be administered by the Office of Energy Development. This would be an important step to cover areas of the state near our national parks that are not served by our largest utility, Rocky Mountain Power. This appropriations request will be before the Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee this Thursday, Feb. 3. UCE Position: Support
Bringing Back Tax Credit for Low-Emission Vehicles: HB 221-Tax Credit for Alternative Fuel Vehicles, sponsored by Representative Suzanne Harrison (D-Sandy)
The bill would restore an income tax credit for electric and hydrogen vehicles with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of less than $55,000 from 2023-2026. The credit would be $3,000 for a new electric vehicle, $2,000 for a used electric vehicle, $1,500 for a new electric motorcycle, $1000 for a used electric motorcycle, and $1,500 for a lease of a new electric vehicle. We support this bill and we are watching closely to see if it will be assigned to a committee. UCE Position: Support
Other Bills We are Working On
- Wonky but Important Energy Efficiency Bills: HB 39-State Construction Code Amendments (2nd Sub.) by Representative Joel Ferry included some last-minute problematic language to requirements for residential HVAC equipment. We are hoping to see if we can make changes to this provision. We are also closely watching HB 151-Retail Facility Payment Amendments (Rep Mike Schultz), which would limit payments and incentives to retail facilities from state and local governments. Energy and water conservation programs are exempted, but we want to make sure that these exemptions remain.
- Climate Resolutions: A number of climate change-related resolutions have been debated over the past few weeks. We support HJR 3-Joint Resolution Supporting Federal Carbon Fee and Dividend Program by Rep. Ward that calls on the Utah Legislature to express support for a national “carbon fee and dividend” program that would put a price on greenhouse gas emissions and then refund the proceeds directly to households in the form a monthly dividend. However, that bill did not pass the House Public Utilities, Energy, and Technology Committee when it was heard earlier this week. We look forward to working with the sponsor to see what options we may have to advance it this session.
- Repealing Tax Incentives for Renewable Energy: We are studying HB 262-Incentive Amendments by Representative Kay Christofferson (R-Lehi), which would repeal several renewable energy tax credits, including the Alternative Energy Development Tax Credit and the residential renewable energy systems tax credit.