Rick Bowmer, AP
The Utah State Capitol is shown Monday, Jan. 27, 2014, in Salt Lake City.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah has a new energy czar.

Gov. Gary Herbert on Tuesday announced that Laura Nelson has been appointed director of the Utah Office of Energy Development.

Nelson, who holds a doctorate in economics from the University of Utah, previously served as energy adviser to former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.

Nelson will assume her new role on July 21. She replaces Samantha Mary Julian, who is relocating to Oregon to be closer to family. Julian was the first energy office director and helped launch the governor’s annual energy summit.

Nelson has worked extensively on energy policy issues both in the public and private sectors, including those related to emerging technologies, unconventional fuels and environmental issues, according to a news release.

During her two years as energy adviser, she served on the Federal Task Force on Unconventional Fuels, the Western Interstate Energy Board and the Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System Board.

“Dr. Nelson comes to this position ready to start on day one,” Herbert said. “She not only brings an impressive background and understanding of energy markets, trends, and challenges, she also brings with her a successful track record of resolving challenging issues and working with a broad spectrum of stakeholders to advance energy development in our state.”

— Jasen Lee