Regional News Briefs
Tri-State Announces Transformative New Energy Plan
On January 15th, the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association announced its Responsible Energy Plan, which includes shutting down the utility’s coal-fired power plants in Colorado and New Mexico, greatly expanding renewable energy generation, increasing support for electric vehicles, and significantly cutting the utility’s greenhouse gas emissions. Tri-State also said it will expand its energy efficiency, demand-side management and beneficial electrification programs. Howard Geller, SWEEP’s Executive Director, served on the advisory group that helped Tri-State develop it’s Responsible Energy Plan. The Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association is a non-profit cooperative that provides power to 43 electric distribution cooperatives and public power districts in Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming.
City of Boulder Continues Its Path to Zero Energy Buildings
On January 21, 2020, the Boulder City Council unanimously passed updates to the city's building energy codes. Boulder has been on a glide path to zero net energy buildings and these updates continue the city's advancement in building efficiency. Additions include adding electric vehicle (EV) charging requirements for commercial and residential buildings, new construction falls primarily under performance requirements including outcome based compliance for commercial buildings, improved insulation and window efficiency, new testing requirements for commercial buildings, improved lighting efficiency including lighting efficiency for interior plant growth, solar readiness, and building performance requirements. An outcome-based commercial code compliance path where performance is verified after occupancy and another path where at least 5% of commerical building energy use must be supplied by on-site renewables are also included.
Residential buildings will no longer be able to have natural gas equipment with continuously burning pilot lights and hot tubs and spas must have their energy use offset by renewable energy. Currently, 5,000 sf and larger new homes reach zero-energy, with the new code all new single family homes larger than 3,000 sf must reach zero energy on the energy rating index scale. Also, solar readiness is required for homes and townhomes, and an option to allow contributing to an energy impact offset fund if new homes cannot feasibly add solar on site or its technically infeasible if off-site solar subscriptions are not available.
Other items incorporated into the building codes update include recognizing permanent installation of tiny homes are all now required in the City of Boulder.
New Utah Roadmap Points the Way for Mitigating Climate Impacts and Improving Air Quality
At the request of the Utah Legislature, the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute of the University of Utah, with the assistance of a Technical Advisory Committee, prepared and issued The Utah Roadmap: Positive Solutions on Climate and Air Quality. The stated objective of the Roadmap is to assist with policymaking to improve air quality and address causes and impacts of a changing climate. The Utah Roadmap identifies areas of opportunity to reduce air emissions and ensure a healthy, productive, and prosperous future for all Utahns. Recommendations in the Utah Roadmap include:
Establish goals to reduce CO2 emissions statewide 25% below 2005 levels by 2025, 50% by 2030, and 80% by 2050.
Adopt robust energy-efficiency goals for all state buildings.
Strengthen residential and commercial building standards, and incentivize their adoption, to reduce emissions, improve air quality, increase energy efficiency and lower costs for building owners, tenants, and residents.
Increase investment in transit and active transportation infrastructure and – as importantly – frequent and convenient bus and rail service that builds ridership and connects residents with opportunities.
Complete expansion of Utah’s network of EV-charging stations to cover all communities, state highways, and scenic byways as quickly as possible.
Target EV incentives towards middle and low-income Utah households, replacement of vehicles 12 years or older, and home charging stations.
SWEEP’s partner organization, Utah Clean Energy, participated in the Technical Advisory Committee that helped the Policy Institute prepare the Roadmap.