Author: Emma Tobin, Communications Intern, NASEO
Governor Gary Herbert unveiled a new 10-step energy action plan at Utah’s annual Energy Summit in mid-May. The plan focuses on energy innovation and leadership in rural areas of Utah to help increase economic prosperity, job security, and standards of living. Additional goals of the plan include boosting education around energy, expanding the state’s electricity markets to include more renewables, and incentivizing infrastructure development to enable deployment of clean energy.
The plan articulates several goals related to rural communities, and progress toward these goals will be measured quantitatively. Metrics for goals related to rural communities include:
• How many jobs were created as a result of the plan?
• How has private investment changed?
• How many tax credit applications for alternative energy development projects have been approved in these rural areas?
Governor Herbert intends to increase energy production in Utah 25 percent by 2020 by supporting both traditional and non-traditional energy research and infrastructure projects across the state. As part of this energy innovation effort, University of Utah is seeking government funding for a $130 million field laboratory to do geothermal technology research. Information gained from the new laboratory would grow Utah's energy portfolio and 'position local students to lead out in establishing rural Utah as a front-runner in renewable energy.'
Check out how Utah is currently making innovations in geothermal power in order to meet new energy demands.
In addition to enhancing geothermal research, Gov. Herbert plans to expand rural business development in energy. He intends to add a new oil pipeline in Utah within the next two years, broaden coal and natural gas access, as well as energy storage across the state. By 2019, the state also intends to have a collection of solar batteries installed in rural southern Utah. These projects and more are intended to enhance energy assurance and affordability across the state.