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Guest opinion: CREP gives Ogden a real choice vs. energy monopoly

By Eli Davis - | Sep 12, 2023

Photo supplied, o2 Utah

Eli Davis

The Community Renewable Energy Program (CREP) is the most impactful step Utah communities can take to reduce our carbon emissions and positively impact our climate and air quality.

Signed into law in 2019, CREP is the pathway for Ogden, and other communities, to work with Rocky Mountain Power to achieve net-100% renewable energy.

The Standard-Examiner recently published a guest opinion by David Willis littered with speculation and fallacies attacking CREP.

Let’s set the record straight.

First off, Mr. Willis gets ahead of himself in asserting that CREP will make rates more expensive for residents. We do not yet know what CREP will cost residents and businesses. Communities are currently negotiating rates with Rocky Mountain Power.

Laughably, Mr. Willis says Ogden needs a free market instead of CREP. The free market would be great, but that’s not a choice here. Rocky Mountain Power is a monopoly. Residents and businesses have no choice where their energy comes from, and Rocky Mountain Power has no incentive to provide cheaper, cleaner energy.

CREP actually gives Ogden a real choice, for the first time, on where to get its electricity. If you don’t like it, no problem, you can opt-out.

Wyoming should serve as a warning to Ogden about what can happen when we give exclusive control of our electricity to a monopoly dependent on fossil fuels. Rocky Mountain Power is proposing a nearly 30% rate hike in Wyoming, largely driven by volatile fossil fuel costs.

But renewables in Wyoming are having the opposite effect. And, especially in the long run, they can do that for Ogden, too.

While there are upfront costs associated with renewable energy infrastructure, it’s a cost-effective, long-term investment. Renewable energy is like a mortgage. You make an upfront payment, and then you know exactly what you owe each month. You are not subject to the whims of international markets and events like the war in Ukraine.

Mr. Willis blatantly misrepresents a Weber State University survey of Ogden residents, falsely claiming, “The majority in Ogden would opt out … it is not popular.”

The complete opposite is true. The survey of Ogden residents found that even if renewable power ends up costing more, “72.8% (are) willing to pay some increase in their monthly electricity costs in order to obtain electricity from renewable sources.”

Mr. Willis’ misrepresentation of CREP is perplexing. If you don’t like the program, you can simply opt-out and choose Rocky Mountain Power’s standard, dirty electricity. Ogden is required to make sure you have ample opportunity to do so.

But I hope you don’t. Climate change needs our attention and action. We owe it to ourselves and our kids. Fortunately, with CREP, everyone in Ogden can take a significant step toward reducing carbon emissions and cleaning our air.

Eli Davis is the communication director for o2 Utah in Salt Lake City.

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