Report Projects 7,000 Renewable Energy Jobs in Utah

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A new study concludes that new renewable energy and energy efficiency investments in Utah could yield 7,000 net ongoing jobs, $310 million in net annual earnings, and a $300 million net annual increase in gross domestic product by state (GDPS) by 2020, according to alternative energy organization AWEA.

The report, “Building the Clean Energy Economy: A Study on Jobs and Economic Development of Clean Energy in Utah,” analyzes the economic impacts of an energy strategy that includes a 20% electricity reduction through energy efficiency measures and 20% of electricity coming from renewable resources by 2020. The study was requested by Governor Gary Herbert’s energy advisor, Dianne Nielson.

“This study confirms that increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy development will have a net positive impact on Utah’s economy,” said Sarah Wright, executive director of Utah Clean Energy, the nonprofit organization that led the analysis, told AWEA. “Utah has set goals to increase efficiency and renewables over the next ten years; with leadership and determination, Utah can make clean energy an integral part of our economy.”

Utah Clean Energy collaborated with two economic consultant organizations, MRG & Associates and Wikstrom Economic & Planning Consultants, to conduct the economic analysis.

In 2008, the state of Utah initiated the Utah Renewable Energy Zone (UREZ) Task Force to identify Utah’s homegrown renewable energy resources (wind power, concentrating solar power, and geothermal) suitable for utility scale electricity generation.

Renewable resources modeled include:

— 475 MW of wind energy generation in Utah

— 241 MW of geothermal generation;

–150 MW of concentrating solar power (CSP) with storage;

— 84 MW of residential and commercial solar photovoltaic (PV) distributed electricity; and

— 23 MW of various types of biomass.

The renewable electricity generated from this mix of renewable energy resources expands Utah’s percentage of renewable electricity usage from roughly 4% in 2007 to 20% by 2020.

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