Provo City Council made a decision on May 5, 2020, that was a little bit shocking: Provo City approved a motion to switch power to 60% green, renewable energy by 2030.
“We are close to 50%,” Provo Power director Travis Ball said.
Sustainability can be tricky to navigate, but Ball shed some light on the subject.
“We decided to get rid of some of our coal resources and replace that with more sustainable solar power,” he said.
Provo Power built a four-megawatt solar plant in Spanish Fork and are building an 80-megawatt plant north of Mona in conjunction with a few other cities.
“The difficulty is every time you build something that’s intermittent, like a wind or a solar plant, you have to have something that backs it up,” Ball said.
In order to not leave Provo in the dark, Provo Power needs sources of energy that can be tapped into more reliably than solar or wind.
“We purchased a natural gas plant up in West Valley that was about 200 mega-watts that can start very quickly to back up any of our intermittent power supplies,” he said.
Brigham Young University has done its part in helping Provo reach its goal.
“Part of that we’re counting as a green resource is the combined heat and power generator that is up at BYU. All of that power we purchase, and because it’s used for not just power generation but heating and cooling of BYU campus, it’s considered to be a green resource,” Ball said.
After the solar plant in Mona is built, Provo Power is expecting to be at or near 51% green, renewable energy, which is on track for its goal of 60% by 2030. Provo Power is on the look out for more opportunities for solar power and are closely watching the technological advancements in the battery sector.