Utah legislative leaders announced the introduction of a new bill Monday that will allow the state to partner with Rocky Mountain Power to invest up to $50 million in electric vehicle charging infrastructure for Utahns across the state. House Bill 396 will enable a substantial reduction in vehicle emissions, the largest source of carbon emissions along the Wasatch Front.
H.B. 396 facilitates an electrified highway and interstate system for the entire state, including rural areas, which will enhance tourism opportunities at Utah's state and national parks and other travel destinations. The bill advances the deployment of a statewide DC fast charger network, eliminating concerns over range anxiety and facilitating increased adoption for Utahns considering the purchase of an electric vehicle.
“We continue to make strides in advancements toward cleaner air solutions,” said Senate President J. Stuart Adams. “This bill greatly expands Utah’s network of electric vehicle charging stations. This public-private partnership establishes Utah as a market-based electric vehicle state and positions Utah as a national leader in clean energy.”
“The Legislature is excited to announce efforts regarding electric vehicles and clean air legislation. Studies show that our air is in fact getting cleaner, and we believe this piece of legislation will continue to move the needle in big ways,” said Utah Speaker of the House Brad Wilson. “We find success when we are able to work collaboratively with partners. We could not fund a project of this scale alone on the state level. That is why we are thrilled to have this public-private partnership with Rocky Mountain Power leading this important effort.”
“In our efforts to clear the air there are no perfect answers, but there are practical solutions,” said Thom Carter, executive director of the Utah Clean Air Partnership (UCAIR). “All of our research shows that one of the main limiting factors for people moving to electric vehicles is their range anxiety. This bill has the ability to remove this top barrier and eliminate so many emissions in our air-shed.”
“This bill represents the next chapter of electric vehicle infrastructure development as we make electric vehicle ownership more accessible for everyone in the state,” said Gary Hoogeveen, Rocky Mountain Power president and CEO. “Today’s announcement establishes Utah as a national leader for what can be achieved through public-private partnerships on electric vehicle infrastructure.”
Rocky Mountain Power customers are not expected to see increased bills as funding sources from expiring programs will be redirected to meet the objectives of the bill.
As of January 2020, Rocky Mountain Power has facilitated the installation of 50 DC fast chargers in Utah, completing an electric highway corridor along I-15. An additional 1,036 Level II chargers were installed as part of a workplace charging program. The new program will build on this network and significantly increase the number of chargers along the Wasatch Front and in other areas of the state. The bill allows the state to take advantage of new technology and new opportunities for smart vehicles and encourages clean transportation investments in the Inland Port and Point of the Mountain development areas.