Letter: In shift to clean energy, we urgently need permitting reform or carbon pricing

We have a ways to go toward a completely clean way of life, but we’re getting closer.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Hunter Power Plant in Emery County, on Thursday, July 21, 2022.

I concur with The Tribune Editorial Board’s sentiment “Utah makes it way too easy for Rocky Mountain Power to delay its shift to clean energy, and put the cost on you.”

SB161 and SB224, passed during the 2024 legislative session, which allocate taxpayer funds to prolong the operation of coal-fired power plants until 2040, make it convenient for Rocky Mountain Power to postpone developing the clean energy technologies we need while burdening us with the costs of propping up an outdated technology we had planned to retire.

Even disregarding their externalized costs from greenhouse gas and mercury emissions, coal-fired power plants face substantial economic hurdles. Once, we were willing to put aside concerns about public health and the environment because we thought we were getting a bargain in low-cost electricity from coal, but today’s low-cost choices are wind, solar and storage. Geothermal is coming and will be big.

Fortunately, even individuals of modest means can take proactive measures toward clean cost-effective energy solutions. Our household got 68% of our total energy consumption for 2023 from solar power and that includes almost all our energy requirements for transportation, home heating, and our other numerous uses of energy. We have a ways to go toward a completely clean way of life, but we’re getting closer. Morality is our main motivation, but a side benefit is we’re saving money, too.

Along with personal actions, we urgently need legislative solutions such as permitting reform or a price on carbon.

Please write or call your elected representatives and let them know we are paying attention to how well they represent our interests.

Charles Ashurst, Logan

Submit a letter to the editor