New Utah solar project approved to serve six large Rocky Mountain Power customers

The Utah Public Service Commission provided final approval of an application by Rocky Mountain Power, on behalf of six large organizations in the state, to purchase electricity and renewable energy attributes from a large new solar project in Tooele County that is owned and being developed by D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments (DESRI). The application makes use of the Schedule 34 Renewable Energy Tariff, allowing large customers of Rocky Mountain Power to work through the utility to source renewable energy to meet the organizations’ clean energy goals.

The six customers include three local governments (Salt Lake City, Park City, and Summit County), one higher-education institution (Utah Valley University) and two ski resorts (Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain).

All six organizations worked with Rocky Mountain Power to source a greater share of their internal electricity needs from cost-effective renewable energy. The final Commission order completes a major milestone for the solar project to be online by 2023. Elektron Solar, an 80-megawatt MWAC solar project to be located in Tooele County, was selected and recently executed contracts for its full 80-MWAC capacity.

The Elektron Solar project is owned and will be constructed by DESRI, building on a successful collaboration between DESRI and Enyo Renewable Energy (ERE), a Utah-based renewable energy developer, that is now responsible for more than 275 MWAC of new customer-driven solar capacity being constructed in 2021 and 2022 in northern Utah. The project was originally developed and permitted by ERE, a joint venture among affiliates of Enyo and MAP Energy. The Elektron Solar project is anticipated to support approximately 100 construction jobs and will be an ongoing source of revenues to both Tooele County as well as the State of Utah’s School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, which owns the land on which the project is sited.

When constructed, the solar project will be among the largest solar generators connected to the Rocky Mountain Power system. The larger facility size will enable customers to meet a significant portion of their demand with the project’s production at a very competitive price. Salt Lake City Corporation expects to source almost 90% of its annual electricity from the project while seeing the electric bill for city operations increase by less than 2%.

“Our D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments team is pleased to partner with communities throughout Utah to deliver cost-effective clean power to citizens,” said Hy Martin, chief development officer of DESRI. “We are thrilled to support cities and municipal entities as they become leaders in the clean energy transition across the United States. This project builds on DESRI’s substantial renewable energy presence across the country and continues our work of delivering power to public and private institutions in the region.”

“This project is the biggest clean energy achievement Salt Lake City Corporation has made to date, but it will not be the last,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall. “We set the goal of generating 50% of our municipal power needs through clean energy, and this will project will get us to nearly 90%. Next up — we’re working tirelessly to achieve net-100% clean electricity for our entire community. The Rocky Mountain Power and Elektron solar project has shown how affordable clean energy is and how well a multi-customer acquisition project works. We’re well on our way to realizing those larger goals as the urgency of climate change demands.”

News item from Rocky Mountain Power