Moab was close to losing its reputation for being a green-powered community a few weeks ago. Getting solar projects added to the renewable energy program secured its designation.

Mayor Dave Sakrison announced that the city was in danger of losing its Green Power Community status at the Aug. 28 Moab City Council meeting. Sakrison cited Rocky Mountain Power’s report showing Moab had fallen below the required three percent threshold required by the Environmental Protection Agency to retain the designation.

“We’re at 2.68 percent. We’re in dire straits here, my rough calculations are that we are about 450,000 kilowatt hours short.” he said in reference to the percentage of electricity the EPA requires government facilities, businesses and residences to purchase from renewable energy sources. “We’re going to lose our Green Power Community designation if we don’t increase by .32 percent.”

Renewable energy consumed in Moab is purchased through Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky Renewable Energy Program.

Participants must sign up for the program and pay a surcharge that acts as a subsidy toward the cost of construction of alternative energy generating facilities including wind, solar and geothermal and bringing them online. Rocky Mountain Power also provides incentive programs to help consumers defray a portion of installing clean energy systems including solar panels.

“We have been in contact with Moab City officials and have provided information that should be useful in showing Moab continues to meet the criteria required to maintain the “Green Power Community” designation by the EPA.” said Rocky Mountain Power spokesman Jeff Hymas. “There are currently more than 800 Rocky Mountain Power customers in Moab who participate in the utility’s voluntary Blue Sky renewable energy program representing about 13.7 percent of the community. Also, there are about 50 customers in Moab who are using solar panels to generate electricity for their own power needs. If you add together all of the renewable energy being supported by residents, businesses and city government in Moab, it appears they should have enough to keep their EPA Green Power Community status.”

Moab City Manager Donna Metzler released a revised report documenting Moab’s clean energy sources in late September showing the city actually purchases 3.1 percent of its electricity from alternative sources. The Rocky Mountain Power report in August included energy purchases generated by wind turbines only.

By adding in on-site solar power generation, a total of 56,453 kilowatt hours, Moab was able to top the 3 percent threshold and retain its designation as “The Nation’s First Green Power Community.” Moab has been a leader in sustainable energy. It became the nation’s first EPA Green Power Community in 2004.

“Without Moab and Mayor Sakrison’s efforts to establish our Green Power Partner program we wouldn’t have all the other cities onboard that we have now. Cities like Philadelphia, Portland and Washington D.C. to mention just a few,” said Blaine Collision, director of the EPA’s Green Power Program. “It’s great news to know Moab continues to be a green community and a leader in renewable energy use.”