This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — Cottonwood Heights officials passed a resolution Tuesday to pledge to transition the city’s operations to 100 percent renewable energy by 2022 and citywide operations to renewable energy by 2032.
The resolution, which passed through Cottonwood Heights City Council unanimously, cites the desire to “promote the health, safety and welfare of the city’s residents” because of poor air quality that exists in Salt Lake County.
The resolution added a desire to “enhance the economic well-being of the city and its residents through prudent management of the city’s financial resources.”
“Your input has an impact. We listened,” Cottonwood Heights Mayor Mike Peterson told the two dozen residents at the meeting before his vote in favor of the resolution. He called the measure a challenge but looked forward to it.
“We don’t always agree 100 percent, but on this one, I think we hit it right on,” he said. “(The) resolution that allows us to step out and lead.”
Those in attendance applauded as Peterson finalized the vote.
Councilman Scott Bracken noted the resolution had gone through a few alterations to reflect input from the community. The resolution notes that technology advanced have made renewable energy “more economically viable than in the past” and, in some cases, cheaper.
It’s unclear how the city will get to the goal, but Peterson added that Tuesday was just the first step in the process. He said the city will develop a plan of action to reach its 2022 and 2032 goals.
In passing the resolution, Cottonwood Heights became the fourth Utah city to commit to 100 percent renewable energy, according to the Sierra Club Utah. Others include Salt Lake City, Moab and Park City. In 2017, Summit County, which Park City is in, also pledged to run on 100 percent renewable energy by 2032.
Cottonwood Heights was also among less than 1 percent of the towns in cities in the U.S. to strive for 100 percent renewable energy, Cottonwood Heights City Councilmember Christine Mikell added in the meeting.
“We will be a leader,” she said.
The resolution had fans within the community in attendance Tuesday night. Resident John Kennington said he believed it would help clean up the air in the Salt Lake Valley and could put pressure for utility companies to change how they produce energy.
“The resolution is exactly what’s needed to start us on the path to address climate change and bad air quality by pressuring the power sector of our economy to switch to clean energy sources,” he said.
Will McCarvill, chairman of the Sierra Club’s Utah Chapter, also chimed in with a statement in favor of the resolution.
“I know the families and businesses of our city are making the smart, forward-thinking decision to commit to 100 percent clean renewable energy,” he said. “(It will) create good-paying local jobs, keep electricity bills low, and protect our air and water from toxic pollution in the process.”
However, there were concerns from the city council. Bracken said he wasn’t sure if the city would meet its city-wide goal in time. He voted for the measure regardlessly.
“I think the 2032 goal is probably a little aggressive,” he said. “At the same time, I could very well be wrong. I would be happy to be wrong.”