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September 2020 Partners Meeting

At our September 2020 partners meeting we heard from two excellent presenters. First, we heard from James Campbell with Rocky Mountain Power. Then we got an air quality update from Bryce Bird, Director of the Division of Air Quality. While our partners meetings continue to be virtual, our community and connections remain strong. Thank you to all of our partners and participants who make this possible.

Electrifying Utah – James Campbell, Director of Innovation & Sustainability Policy, Rocky Mountain Power

Beneficial electrification is transitioning from combustible fossil fuels to electricity as a foundational energy source. When studying electrification there are four main sectors to consider, transportation, heating of buildings, indoor agriculture and industrial processes. Each of these sectors could benefit from moving to electric to reduce their carbon footprint. When evaluating the opportunities for emissions reductions, the transportation sector is the clear winner. However, the heating of residential and commercial buildings also presents an opportunity for substantial reductions. A typical 2,000 square foot house takes about 38 million BTUs of natural gas to heat, with electric heating 13 thousand BTUs are needed to heat the same house. To help meet the increasing demand for electricity as electrification continues, Rocky Mountain Power is investing in renewable sources. By the end of 2020, there will be 1200 megawatts of wind generated power in the system. Additionally, by 2023 1800 megawatts of new solar, 2000 megawatts of new wind power and 600 megawatts of battery storage will be part of the power network.

In 2020 the state legislature passed two bills that will further electrification goals in Utah. The first is HB431, Energy Efficiency Amendments, which was sponsored by Representative Handy. This bill expands the definition of demand side management in the context of an authorized tariff relating to energy efficiency and conservation. The second bill, HB396, is known as the Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Amendments by Representative Snow which allows Rocky Mountain Power to invest up to $50 million on EV infrastructure programs. UDOT and Rocky Mountain Power are coordinating with other partners and key stakeholders to implement HB396. There will be a public workshop on September 24th and members of the public are encouraged to provide their input. The partners will submit a program proposal to the Public Service Commission by the end of the year and construction of EV infrastructure should begin in late spring or early summer of 2021.

DAQ Update – Bryce Bird, Director, Division of Air Quality

In early 2020 DAQ recorded reduction in emissions as the result of several factors. Including, a mild winter, control measures from the PM 2.5 SIP and the introduction of Tier 3 fuels along the Wasatch Front. Unfortunately, those controls were overwhelmed in early July because of a hot and dry summer this year. Additionally, impacts of wildfires on air quality have been dramatic in Utah and across the west. Although there were some fires in late July and early August, the state did not exceed EPA standards.

The Division of Air Quality is currently working on the Regional Haze SIP, which is due next summer. Ozone will be an important element of the SIP, as DAQ anticipates a bump in ozone levels in 2021. DAQ is awaiting final approval of the maintenance plans by the EPA which will help get non-attainment areas back into attainment. Finally, they are continuing to work on encouraging the last two refineries to begin to producing tier 3 fuel.


Following the presentation, partners shared what projects and initiatives they are currently working on. These included:

Bonnie Christiansen, Weber State University Intermountain Sustainability Summit is scheduled for March 18-19, 2021. Participants can submit speaker proposals on their website.

James Campbell, Rocky Mountain Power – In September, RMP will be starting a weekly podcast focusing on electric vehicles. The final episode will be released on October 2nd during the national drive electric week. The guests featured on the first episode will be David Eccles and Debbie Sigmund. 

Thom Carter, UCAIR – 

  • Utah Clean Cities hosted the 13th annual Governor’s Idle Free declaration, for the first time as a virtual event, on September 11.
  • Rocky Mountain Power will be hosting an Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program on September 24th at 10:00am.
  • UCAIR is in the throes of the UCAIR Grants process. The LOI process concluded at the end of August. Full applications will be due in October. I would like to thank those that did not get invited to submit a full application for the great LOIs they submitted.

NEXT MEETING: October 8, 2020, 9:00-11:00 AM