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The City Journals

West Jordan leaders pull back from renewable energy coalition

Mar 30, 2021 11:33AM ● By Erin Dixon

West Jordan officials decided to pull back from the Community Renewable Energy cooperation and will explore other avenues for renewable energy. (Photo courtesy West Jordan City)

By Erin Dixon | [email protected]

In 2019 the Utah State Legislature approved House Bill (HB) 411, the Community Renewable Energy Act. The bill paved the way for Utah municipalities to come together to help each other build 100% net-renewable energy sources. 

The West Jordan City Council discussed earlier this year whether West Jordan was going to participate.

“[In 2019] the city of West Jordan passed resolution 19-212 in support of the community renewable energy act,” Communications Officer Tauni Barker said. “In total, 23 Utah cities and counties resolved to adopt 100% net-renewable electricity by 2030. Since that time, two of the communities have dropped out: Ogden and West Valley City.”

For West Jordan to sign the interlocal agreement and work with neighboring cities would cost $106,500. 

With two of the original cities leaving the coalition, the cost for West Jordan would likely increase.

“The $106,000 that we’re going to have to spend, that’s 1% property tax revenue,” Councilmember Kelvin Green said. “I’m not willing to generously donate 1% of our property tax revenue to this when we’ve got other issues. We’d be signing to increase utility rates in West Jordan, and we’ve taken enough hits over water rates.”

“I’m very much concerned about air quality, but my hope was to see the impact this might have,” Councilmember Chris McConnhey said. “It really needs to transcend borders and be tackled by the state. The disproportionate cost that would fall to the residents of West Jordan and the lower-than-anticipated potential benefit. I don’t see a reason for us to participate.”

“The departing cities have reached out to us,” Barker said. “[They] are interested in working on some renewable energy initiative that would have a far less significant price tag.”

“The geography of our area is the reason we have an air pollution problem greater than any other areas,” Councilmember Kayleen Whitelock said. “If and when the time makes sense for us to be using more renewable energy, the market will just do that. I would hate to burden our residents with higher costs for something we don’t really even know, and those other forms of energy are not without their own problems.”

City officials did not need to officially withdraw from the agreement, and no future plans have been made at this time.