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Honk if you love electric vehicles!

Sep 13, 2016 11:29AM ● By Bryan Scott
Press Release submitted to City Journals

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (September 13, 2016)–More electric vehicles could be silently whizzing down our roads because of comprehensive efforts underway by Rocky Mountain Power. The energy company filed for a $4 million federal grant to place electric vehicle (EV) chargers along 1,500 miles of highways in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho, and provide incentives to convert business cars to electric vehicles. Rocky Mountain Power also submitted a plan this week with Utah regulators to develop incentives for EV charging stations.

“Rocky Mountain Power is committed to being part of the solution to improve air quality in the states we serve,” said Cindy A. Crane, Rocky Mountain Power and CEO. “Right now motor vehicles are creating the most emissions in urban areas. Electric vehicles could help reduce vehicle pollution.

The “WestSmart EV” grant or “WesternSmart Plug-in Vehicle Community Partnership” was filed with the U.S. Department of Energy and would also provide incentives to convert business cars to electric vehicles and additional funds would be used to integrate electric bus service, taxis and bikes.

The partnership includes a broad coalition including the Utah Office of Energy Development, University of Utah, Utah State University, Utah Clean Cities Coalition, Breathe Utah and others. The grant’s target is to increase the number of electric vehicles over the next 10 years, potentially leading to more than 50,000 EVs.

“Those of us who live and work along the Wasatch Front know first-hand the state’s most populated area experiences bad air quality during our inversions,” said Vicki Bennett, Salt Lake City’s Sustainability Department Director. “This grant would be a significant step towards improving the air we breathe.”

The Utah Division of Air Quality has found 56 percent of the air pollution in the Wasatch Front comes from motor vehicles. The DOE is expected to announce in January 2017 whether this grant application has been selected for funding.

Rocky Mountain Power also submitted an application asking the Utah Public Service Commission to implement a 5-year pilot program to develop EV charging stations through incentives with $2 million in funding per year.  The EV program is part of a larger plan authorized by the Utah legislature in March, approving $10 million per year for 5 years for the Sustainable Transportation and Energy Plan Act.

About Rocky Mountain Power

Rocky Mountain Power is working to bring its customers more and more renewable energy choices. Its Blundell geothermal power plant near Milford, Utah, was the nation’s first geothermal plant built outside of California when it came online in 1984. It also has 13 utility-scale wind projects generating electricity for customers; and as part of its parent company – Berkshire Hathaway Energy – it ranks as the nation’s leading utility owner of wind capacity. Its renewable energy commitment continues with the Subscriber Solar Program which will allow customers to buy locally produced solar energy without installing rooftop solar panels. Customers can also support renewable energy through the company’s Blue Sky program, which supports renewable projects in the West and helped create more than 100 community-based renewable projects in the states we serve.