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Energy and Utilities

The State of Utah boasts one of the nation’s least expensive and most stable energy supplies in the nation. Offering an innovative combination of traditional energy resources coupled with renewable resources, Utah is leading the way toward energy independence.

The State is also considered one of the most tech-savvy, with leading telecommunications capabilities that keep Utahns connected. The State’s overall energy and utility infrastructure keep the State’s citizenry and businesses running.

Highlights

  • Governor Gary Herbert’s administration has developed a major strategic energy plan to address energy independence and economic development needs.
  • LOWEST: Utah’s electric power and natural gas rates are among the nation’s lowest.
  • Highest: Utah has the highest broadband participation rates of any U.S. state.
  • Utah is endowed with abundant natural gas resources.
  • 20,000: Energy is also major driver of Utah’s economy. Nearly 20,000 Utahns work in energy sector jobs, representing 1.4% of all state employment and 2.6% of total wages paid.
  • 14th: U.s. Coal Production by state
  • 11th: U.s. Crude oil Production by state
  • 9th: U.s. Natural gas (DRY) Production by state
  • 3rd lowest: Average Price of residential Natural gas
  • 4th lowest: Average Price of Electricity

Utah’s Energy Production by the Numbers:

Utah has a rich history developing traditional fossil fuel energy resources. Today, State leaders have positioned Utah to continue its legacy as an energy producer, focusing on a combination of traditional and renewable energy resources.

Traditional Energy Production

  • 14th in coal production nationally (2011), with 15 billion recoverable tons.
  • 11th in oil production nationally (2011), with a 12.3% production increase expected in 2012.
  • 9th in natural gas production nationally (2011), with a 8.8%
  • production increase expected in 2012.

Vast reserves of oil shale and oil sands:

  • 77 billion economically recoverable barrels from oil shale.
  • 15 billion economically recoverable barrels from oil sands.

Renewables:

  • 3rd in geothermal capacity, with a 50% increase in capacity coming online in 2013.
  • Nearly 325 MWs of wind power capacity already deployed statewide.
  • Utah was one of only six states included in the Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Zone Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, clearly demonstrating the quality of the state’s resource.
  • Utah has seen at least eight large distributed solar projects built on large rooftops throughout the state, and the deployment of residential solar has skyrocketed in recent years due to the precipitous decline in the cost of photovoltaic panels.
  • 27 of Utah’s 29 school districts have solar projects deployed on the rooftops of their schools.

Energy and the Economy

Business and residential consumers in Utah enjoy some of the least expensive, most stable energy supplies in the nation, including energy from renewable sources. With the exception of crude oil, Utah currently produces more energy (including electricity, transportation fuels, and fuel for residential, commercial and industrial sectors) than it uses.

  • In the first quarter of 2012 conservative estimates showed 17,486 energy sector jobs, representing 1.4% of all state employment and 2.6% of total wages paid.
  • The average wage paid in Utah’s energy sector is 186% of the state’s median wage.
  • Utah’s breadth of conventional and alternative resources has brought a unique energy focus to the state’s premier research universities, which are renowned for their technology commercialization programs. This nexus provides a fertile ground for innovation in energy development here in Utah.

Energy and Utilities: Utah’s Competitive Edge

There are many reasons that Utah is a leader among states in the areas of job creation and economic development, not least of which is the State’s stable and cheap cost of energy for households and businesses. For example, in 2011 the residential cost of natural gas in Utah was the 3rd lowest in the nation and the residential cost of electricity in Utah was the 4th lowest in the nation. The average rate in Utah is 24% lower than the national average.

In addition to other benefits such as Utah’s low 5% flat corporate tax rate and its young and educated workforce, these low energy costs have been instrumental in Utah’s being listed as the Best State for Business by Forbes for the third consecutive year.

Core Goals of the Utah Strategic Energy Initiative

1. Meet the projected energy growth demands over the next decade by making balanced use of fossil fuels and alternatives and renewable resources in a market-driven, cost effective, and environmentally responsible way.

2. Ensure Utah’s continued economic development through access to our own clean and low-cost energy resources.

3. Develop the best new cutting-edge technologies, particularly those that enable us to utilize precious natural resources with an elevated environmental consciousness, and deploy them in Utah, the nation, and the world.

4. Create new and support existing energy related manufacturing opportunities and jobs in Utah.

5. Modernize the regulatory environment to support sustainable power generation, energy transmission solutions and energy conservation.

6. Promote energy efficiency, conservation and peak consumption reductions.

7. Facilitate the expansion of responsible development of Utah’s energy resources, including traditional, alternative and renewable sources.

8. Pursue opportunities for Utah to export fuels, electricity and technologies to regional and global markets.

9. Enhance and further integrate partnerships between industry, universities, state government and local communities—especially those in energy-rich rural communities to address future energy challenges and opportunities.

10. Collaborate with other western regional states to present a strong and unified voice to federal regulatory agencies on energy and public land issues.

State Energy Policy & Governor Herbert’s Energy Plan

In 2006, the State of Utah adopted a State Energy Policy (UC 63M-4301) that affirmed the following policy goals:

  • Utah will have adequate, reliable, affordable, sustainable, and clean energy resources.
  • Utah will promote the development of both nonrenewable and renewable energy resources, and will promote the study of nuclear generation.
  • Utah will promote the development of resources and infrastructure sufficient to meet its demand, and to reduce dependence on foreign resources.
  • Utah will allow market forces to drive energy development, yet will be willing to use incentives as necessary to ensure the optimal development of Utah’s resources.
  • Utah will pursue energy conservation goals.

In 2011, Governor Gary R. Herbert spearheaded Utah’s 10-Year Strategic Energy Plan, a nationally lauded document that put forth 10 goals and 8 recommendations. The recommendations are as follows:

  • Create an Office of Energy Development focused on economic development and policy.
  • Create an effective strategy for development on public lands.
  • Leverage Utah’s research institutions to advance responsible energy development.
  • Promote the judicious use of incentives to advance responsible energy development goals.
  • Work to make regulatory processes more streamlined and transparent.
  • Create state-wide plan to conserve energy.
  • Promote alternative means of transportation and alternative fuels through the addition of necessary infrastructure, etc.
  • Pursue options to boost base-load generation of electricity to prepare for a future of continued growth.