The United States Conference of Mayors recognized Mayor Jackie Biskupski for her leadership to advance renewable energy and tackle climate change.
Presented at the “Climate Luncheon,” Mayor Biskupski was recognized for Salt Lake City’s efforts to transition to net-100 percent clean electricity, which made significant strides in 2019 with the passage and enactment of HB 411, the Community Renewable Energy Act.
“I’m honored to have our clean energy efforts in Salt Lake City recognized on the national stage,” said Mayor Biskupski. “It was truly a collaborative effort to get to where we are today, and I want to thank my staff, fellow 100% communities, state leaders, and Rocky Mountain Power for their partnership in creating a pathway for community energy choice.”
Salt Lake City’s efforts date back several years. Mayor Biskupski and the Salt Lake City Council adopted a joint resolution November 1, 2016, establishing a goal to achieve 100 percent renewable energy for the Salt Lake City community electricity supply by 2032 (Mayor Biskupski has requested the Council adjust the goal to 2030). The adopted resolution includes municipal renewable energy goals and a goal to reduce energy-related community carbon emissions 80 percent by 2040.
To advance the City’s goal of net-100 percent clean electricity, Salt Lake City and Rocky Mountain Power signed a cooperative statement in 2016, detailing goals, timing and the scope for this vision.
Salt Lake City then led a three-year collaborative process with Rocky Mountain Power and two other local communities, Park City and Summit County. In March 2019 Salt Lake City was successful in advocating for the adoption of the Community Renewable Energy Act into Utah State Code.
This legislation (HB411), the first of its kind in the country, is a model for bringing communities together with an investor-owned utility for achieving ambitious renewable energy goals adopted by the community. This legislation authorizes a filing to the Utah Public Service Commission to create rules, rates and expectations for communities desiring to be served by a net-100 percent renewable electricity portfolio by 2030.
As Chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Alliance for a Sustainable Future, Mayor Biskupski will be leading a conversation with her colleagues later today on “Moving Toward a Carbon Free Economy,” with a focus on Salt Lake City’s efforts on adoption of the Community Renewable Energy Act.
“U.S. mayors continue to show global climate leadership and demonstrate that there are effective and affordable responses to our climate challenges,” said Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of The U.S. Conference of Mayors. “More can be accomplished, and more must be accomplished, through mayoral leadership. We call on federal and state governmental officials to embrace local leaders and support their locally-based climate solutions.”
Salt Lake City completed its first community-wide greenhouse gas inventory in 2009. This inventory revealed that more than half of Salt Lake City’s carbon footprint is attributed to electricity use.
Transitioning electricity use to net-100% renewable resources will reduce Salt Lake City’s greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent by 2030.
“We know there is no time to wait on climate change. Salt Lake City made a historic step in 2019 with our progress toward meeting our 100% clean energy goals and we thank the Conference of Mayors for their recognition,” said Mayor Biskupski. “We’re demonstrating that cities not only have a voice—but have the power—to shape climate action and, ultimately, the future of our planet.”
Mayor Biskupski was honored along with other large cities, including Marty Walsh, Mayor of Boston; Michael Ralings, Mayor of Dallas; Jacob Frey, Mayor of Minneapolis; Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City, as well as Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles and Lionel Jordan, Mayor of Fayetville, AR who both won top honors in this year’s Mayor’s Climate Protection Awards.