Two electricity utilities are in different places than they were a year or two ago – all because of renewables. Two stories I wrote for pv magazine this week – the first, Another gas plant spurned as renewable energy takes over in California, and the second Rocky Mountain Power’s incremental evolution.
The second story is more interesting than the first in my opinion – but the first is a hard reality of what’s happening all over the nation.
Rocky Mountain Power is based in Wyoming, Utah and Idaho. Wyoming is pure coal country, Utah isn’t exactly renewable happy – and Idaho is mostly hydroelectric powered, so really not much political need to push further renewables. Yet, Rocky Mountain has put forth a plant to retire large amounts of coal, install more solar and wind, and sees clearly that efficiency will balance out future electricity demand growth.
Why is this utility acting this way? Because they see the future clearly. And this key word from the Rocky Mountain proposal – ‘incremental’ – was what really caught my attention. Slow and steady change is now without a doubt, and a combination of economics and politics are making that happen.
And its happening in a state that gets almost all of its electricity from coal – through a power company that is more than 65% coal.