Office of Energy Development
In the spring of 2011, the Utah Office of Energy Development (OED) was formed in response to the Governor’s 10-Year Strategic Energy Plan, and has now been positioned as the primary resource for advancing energy development in Utah. In its first year, OED hosted over 1,000 attendees at its first annual Utah Governor’s Energy Development Summit. When the second Summit’s attendance jumped to 1,400, the high levels of attendance and sponsorship clearly demonstrated that the Governor is not alone in anticipating energy’s growing importance to the state. While those companies and jobs that constitute Utah’s energy sector range from urban to rural – from attorneys and petroleum engineers to oil well operators and wind turbine maintenance technicians – energy production is a particular boon for rural counties. Indeed, in Carbon, Duchesne and San Juan Counties, 40% of all property tax revenue comes from energy development, and in Uintah, Millard and Emery Counties, between 55-80% of all property taxes flow from energy development. In total, energy production in those counties and others was valued at $4.6 billion in 2012, and accounted for $587 million in revenues to the state and other political subdivisions. Energy is big in Utah, and it’s getting bigger.
Led by Samantha Mary Julian, OED is tasked with implementing the state energy policy (63M-4-301), facilitating the development of the state’s conventional and alternative resources, and promoting energy education and outreach. OED has staff dedicated to the promotion of conventional, unconventional, renewable, and energy efficiency resources, as well as alternative transportation energy infrastructure. OED staff focuses primarily on energy policy and economic development, however given the environmental and social nexuses that define energy development, OED staff deals regularly with public lands issues, environmental issues, new technologies, and public relations and education.
OED Programs and Incentives
The State Energy Program
The State Energy Program (SEP) has been with the state for decades, and is OED’s primary resource in the areas of renewable energy and energy efficiency education and outreach. Through the SEP, OED provides trainings and seminars, offers tax credits to homeowners and business to support distributed generation, and helps partner institutions secure grant funding to support energy programs and research activities.
Renewable Energy Systems Tax Credit
The Investment Tax Credit is worth 25% of eligible system cost or $2,000, whichever is less, for residential installations, and 10% of eligible system cost or $50,000, whichever is less, for commercial installations. Eligible technologies include solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, wind, geothermal, hydro and biomass.
The Production Tax Credit is $0.0035/kilowatt hour for a project’s first four years. For the purposes of the credit, the “renewable energy” category includes: wind, geothermal and biomass. Solar is excluded.
The Alternative Energy Development Incentive is a tax credit designed to advance the development of large-scale renewable energy and unconventional energy projects. The post-performance credit will be equivalent to 75% of all newly generated state revenues, and will last for a period of 20 years, providing a long-term incentive that will bolster two sectors that will be of vital importance to Utah in the coming years.
Utah Energy Infrastructure Authority
The Infrastructure Authority was created in the 2012 General Session with the aim of helping facilitate any energy delivery projects that help to advance responsible energy development in the state. To that end, the Authority Board may authorize tax-free bonds to support the development of any transmission line or pipeline that meets broad criteria related to responsible energy development and rural economic development.
U-Save Energy Fund
The Utah U-Save Energy Fund Program finances energy related cost-reduction retrofits for publicly owned buildings including state, tribal, municipal (city and county), public schools districts, charter schools, public colleges and public university facilities. Low interest rate loans are provided to assist those institutions in financing their energy related cost-reduction efforts.
In Governor Gary R. Herbert’s “ENERGY INITIATIVES & IMPERATIVES, Utah’s Ten-Year Strategic Energy Plan, Governor Herbert underscores the importance of energy to strengthening Utah’s economy and preserving our vibrant quality of life. The Governor also acknowledges the important role of Utah’s research universities in “development and deployment of energy technologies and work force capabilities” including training scientists, engineers, and technicians who will advance energy-related research. Recognizing these dynamics, the Plan’s third recommendation called for the creation of a Utah Energy Research Triangle (UERT), the aim of which would be to foster coordination among Utah’s top universities in order to advance energy innovation and energy development in the State of Utah.
In 2012 Al Walker was selected to lead the UERT, and to work with the Office of Energy Development to chart a path forward in keeping with the Governor’s vision.
For more information about the Office of Energy Development, contact Samantha Mary Julian, Director at email@example.com or 801-538-8726.