Rocky Mountain Power announced Tuesday it is seeking proposals for the construction of new alternative energy projects in Utah drawing on solar, wind and geothermal power.
In response to what the utility says is broad demand from residential and business customers for electricity from renewable sources, Rocky Mountain Power is seeking cost-competitive bids for projects generating a total of 308,000 megawatt hours of power — enough for about 34,000 average homes in Utah.
Because renewable power sources can be intermittent, the utility’s bid request would translate to about 40 megawatts of geothermal capacity or up to 126 megawatts of wind or solar capacity.
Customers sponsoring the request include the municipalities of Park City, Salt Lake City and Summit County; Park City Resort and Deer Valley Resort; and Utah Valley University in Orem, which are all pursuing clean air and sustainability goals that include shifting their power consumption to renewable energy sources.
Cindy Crane, CEO of Rocky Mountain Power, said the Portland-based utility, has a history of successfully partnering with customers in this way.
“We are continuing that tradition by bringing new renewable energy to our customers that have aggressive renewable and sustainability goals, while still providing affordable, reliable electricity to all of our customers,” Crane said in a written statement.
Company spokesman Spencer Hall said additional renewable energy sources would also help Rocky Mountain Power meet demand through its Subscriber Renewables program, which allows enrolled customers to get some or all of their power from alternative sources.
The company drew criticism in 2017 over a $3.5 billion Wyoming wind project that some said showed a bias against renewable energy projects in rural Utah. The utility, which also does business as PacifiCorp, has since vowed to seek new alternative energy projects in Utah, particularly solar.
Any projects submitted to Rocky Mountain Power in this latest round of bidding would require approval from the state Public Service Commission.
Hall said the utility expects to award bids by the end of 2018, with hopes of completing construction and bringing new energy sources to customers by the first part of 2020.