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Wasatch Back Governments and Ski Resorts Secure Renewable Energy Contracts

Melissa Allison

Several local organizations secured contracts through Rocky Mountain Power to deliver renewable energy from a new solar project here in Utah.

The 80-megawatt Elektron Solar project in Tooele County is slated to be online by 2023 and provide renewable energy to six customers in Utah, including four right here in the Wasatch Back.

Summit County, Park City Municipal, Park City Mountain Resort, and Deer Valley Resort all secured contracts through Rocky Mountain Power, along with Salt Lake City and Utah Valley University. 

The Utah Public Service Commission provided final approval of the application by Rocky Mountain Power on Tuesday and makes use of the Schedule 34 Renewable Energy Tariff. The tariff allows large customers of Rocky Mountain Power to work through the company to source renewable energy to meet their clean energy goals.

Rocky Mountain Power says they expect the electric bill for city operations to increase by less than 2 percent. 

Summit County and Park City both have lofty sustainability goals set for the near future, with Summit County hoping to slash their greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent in the next 20 years and Park City aiming to have the entire community running on renewable energy by 2030.

In a written statement to the media, Summit County Manager Tom Fisher said the county is pleased with the results and the partnership will allow the county to achieve net-100 percent renewable energy for all government operations well before their initial goal of 2030.

He added: “The nominal cost increase for clean, renewable energy made possible by the collaboration is the most cost-effective way to make an expedient and significant contribution to our broader goals.” 

Park City has already taken steps of their own when it comes to sustainability. City council approved new regulations regarding electric vehicles in Park City last week and local officials have been clear in their intent to be a model for what is possible when it comes to sustainable communities.

Park City Mayor Andy Beerman said: “The innovative partnership between local governments, Rocky Mountain Power, and Elektron will be a catalyst for the creation of clean jobs in rural Utah, while also powering all of the city’s operations, from streetlights to our electric buses.”
With the base development project at Park City Mountain Resort currently making its way through the Park City Planning Commission and Deer Valley looking at capital improvement projects of their own, transitioning to more renewable sources of energy is a natural choice in the environmentally conscious ski industry.

When complete, the 80-megawatt solar project will be among the largest solar generators connected to the Rocky Mountain Power system and will be part of a larger 275-megawatt system of new solar capacity being constructed in 2021 and 2022 in northern Utah.

Sean Higgins covers all things Park City and is the Saturday Weekend Edition host at KPCW. Sean spent the first five years of his journalism career covering World Cup skiing for Ski Racing Media here in Utah and served as Senior Editor until January 2020. As Senior Editor, he managed the day-to-day news section of skiracing.com, as well as produced and hosted Ski Racing’s weekly podcast. During his tenure with Ski Racing Media, he was also a field reporter for NBC Sports, covering events in Europe.