Utah Gov. Spencer Cox unveiled the state’s new Energy and Innovation Plan that pursues an “any of the above” strategy and a commitment to American energy independence.
“State code requires state energy policy to have adequate, reliable, affordable, sustainable and clean energy resources and that’s precisely what this plan does,” Cox said. “It’s crucial that we ensure Utah’s energy future is secure, innovative and reliable in order to maintain our high quality of life and robust economy.”
“Gov. Cox frequently tells his team that good policy can’t be written sitting in our offices in Salt Lake,” said Thom Carter, the governor’s energy adviser and executive director of the energy development office.
“He encouraged us to travel the state so we could really understand the important issues facing Utahns. After taking that advice, traveling the state for a year, and talking to many experts, stakeholders and the public, we’ve created this interactive state energy plan that demonstrates our commitment to a balanced market-driven approach to energy.”
What the plan says: Beyond emphasizing a diverse portfolio of energy resources and energy independence, key tenets of the plan focus in particular on innovation including:
- Pursuing market-driven climate solutions that enable innovative energy production and support of Utah based research and development.
- Supporting rural communities through economic development and diversification efforts, infrastructure investment and workforce training and development.
- Fostering a clean energy future through a “strong and responsible mining” program for critical minerals and additional investment in emerging technology such as hydrogen, storage and energy efficiency and air quality research.
- Collaborating with local, regional and federal partners for electric vehicle charging, transmission, emerging fuel hubs and coal community support and diversification.
The report highlights Utah’s success on multiple fronts, noting the state is No. 9 in crude oil production, No. 10 in solar generating capacity, No. 13 in natural gas production and No. 10 in coal production. In addition, it is a top 10 state for mining, with most of the minerals necessary for clean energy development located within Utah boundaries. Utah is also only one of seven states with utility-scale electricity generation from geothermal sources.
The FORGE project is playing out in central Utah and is an international research and demonstration effort to bring vast geothermal resources to market in a financially viable manner.
The evolution of renewable energy in Utah: The state is sprouting multiple solar farms, including projects destined for school trust lands that will generate revenue for the benefit of schoolchildren. It also has good wind resources and a carbon sequestration project is being planned.
Correction: A previous version incorrectly stated Cox’s energy plan embraced an “all of the above” approach. It is actually characterized as an “any of the above” approach.