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Community Engagement Strategies to Achieve 100 Percent Net-Renewable Electricity Resolutions

Emily E. Skill, Edwin R. Stafford, and Roslynn G.H. Brain McCann


The absence of federal action on climate change in the United States has motivated local and regional efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the adoption of 100 percent net-renewable electricity resolutions. As of 2020, more than 150 cities, counties, and states have committed to such resolutions, with six U.S. cities having already achieved their goals. Implementing 100 percent net-renewable electricity resolutions, nevertheless, requires hurdling many significant obstacles, including developing and procuring sufficient renewable electricity resources from local utilities, navigating complex energy regulations, balancing costs with other community priorities, and convincing local citizens of the merits of renewable electricity and efficiency for their homes and businesses. Through semi-structured interviews with city, community, utility, and nongovernment environmental organization representatives and secondary sources, this article investigates how the cities of Salt Lake City, Park City, and Moab, the first three cities in Utah to enact 100 percent net-renewable electricity resolutions, have been tackling those challenges. It provides an overview of their most significant outcome thus far—passage of the Community Renewable Energy Act of 2019, which prompted several additional Utah cities and counties to also commit to 100 percent net-renewable electricity. Guided by frameworks of collaborative and transformational leadership, coupled with community-based social marketing, this article offers guideposts to help other communities chart a transition to 100 percent net-renewable electricity.

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