Renewable Energy a Reality in Downtown Salt Lake City

Renewable Energy a Reality in Downtown Salt Lake City

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John Daley ReportingA major new renewable energy project is generating power today. It's happening in the heart of downtown, in the heart of one of the sunniest states in the nation, located on the south side of the Salt Palace. The question ahead, is this the wave of the future?

If you worry about air quality, pollution from power plants, global warming and climate change, then this project is for you. It's a brand new solar array on the Salt Palace Expansion.

Sarah Wright, Executive Director, Utah Clean Energy: "Solar energy is here. It's now, it's working."

And it's plenty visible. It's a $200,000 joint project between Salt Lake County, the city and Rocky Mountain Power, which is funding half of it through its Blue Sky program, where 18-thousand customers are paying a premium to support renewables.

Peter Corroon, Mayor of Salt Lake County: "Renewable energy resources, especially in a state like Utah, where we have the second most sunny days of the year, just makes sense to start using these."

Rich Walje: "It's a great opportunity for us to show folks where their premium is going, helping to support the renewable energy industry in its development."

In all there are 102 solar panels there. That's enough to provide 20 kilowatts of pollution-free power, which is enough to power all the lights on two levels of the Salt Palace's parking garage.

On the roof of his home...

Renewable Energy a Reality in Downtown Salt Lake City

Rocky Anderson: "You just see all the roofs. What amazing prospects we have from getting away from the reliance on burning fossil fuels."

...Salt Lake's mayor recently installed a $9,000 solar array, which is heating all of his hot water. He says with the costs getting more competitive and climate change getting worse each year, the future for renewables is bright.

Rocky Anderson: "We know that it makes sense because corporations and governments have been able to save money through both conservation and moving towards clean, renewable sources of energy."

Other states are aggressively pursuing renewable energy, including California, which recently announced a plan to put 3 billion dollars into solar power.

This is an effort to kick start the technology, and ideally get the costs down. For now renewables like solar and wind are more expensive than other ways of generating electricity, but those costs are coming down.

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