Adobe Stock
Environmentally friendly wind turbines with massive blades turn in the wind producing green, renewable energy. Blue skies. Mountains and grass. Spanish Fork Canyon, Spanish Fork, Utah, United States.

More than ever before, diversity is the defining characteristic driving Utah’s expanding population, thriving economy and robust energy ecosystem. Embracing the many opportunities diversity brings will propel us to elevate our competitive advantage, spark innovative solutions, and cultivate world-class talent. Additionally, leveraging Utah’s diverse energy resources through wise policy will continue to result in smarter, cleaner and stronger growth across our 29 counties.

As we welcome a new season, there are four significant and lasting ways the Governor’s Office of Energy Development, or OED, is providing durable results to advance Utah’s "life elevated" through smart growth, clean air and innovative solutions.

1) Driving new fuels to market

Along the Wasatch Front, OED continues to work closely with refineries to support tens of millions of dollars worth of upgrades toward the production of cleaner, Tier 3 Fuels. With tailpipes accounting for 50 percent of emissions, this improved gasoline will have the ability to reduce emissions on newer vehicles by 80 percent — that’s like taking four out of every five cars off the road! Utah saw its first success in Spring 2018 with the groundbreaking at Andeavor’s (now Marathon Fuels) North Salt Lake refinery. Additional refineries are expected to follow in working with the state’s market-based incentives programs managed by OED.

Adding to Tier 3 results, Utah can also expect continued adoption of clean alternative fuel vehicles, including electric, hybrids, compressed-natural-gas, hydrogen and others that will provide resilience through diversity and reduced emissions from low to zero-emitting tailpipes.

2) Realizing creater building efficiency

After tailpipes, homes and buildings account for nearly 40 percent of emissions along the Wasatch Front.

Investing in energy-efficient building design and technologies further elevates the evolution of clean, affordable solutions to meet the demands of our growing economy while realizing lasting environmental value. In partnership with our utilities, and through targeted building code trainings and videos, OED is helping to advance these goals. Beyond education, OED is collaborating on new energy financing to improve building efficiency in our public and private domain, including net-zero design concepts, financing for commercial energy efficiency improvements, and low or no interest loan programs for our public schools and buildings.

3) Forging rural energy growth

Advancements and benefits of new, innovative energy opportunities are also occurring in Utah’s rural counties resulting in new economic centers. For example, Beaver County is currently experiencing an energy renaissance from new investments occurring across multiple renewable energy resources, including solar, wind, biogas and geothermal. Most recently, the U.S. Department of Energy selected Milford as the winning site to receive up to $140 million in funding to build a "first-of-its-kind" research laboratory dedicated to advancing next generation geothermal technologies, a potential game changer locally and globally for zero-emitting, reliable energy.

4) Advancing carbon reduction innovations

As we continue to expand new export markets for Utah’s low-sulfur, high energy coal, progress is also being made on the capture and use of CO2, coal to carbon fiber, and advanced battery systems. With our commitment and partnerships across stakeholders, communities, businesses and other organizations, Utah continues to be a place for unprecedented carbon and storage innovation, bringing researchers and industry leaders from across the world to provide investment and jobs in both our urban and rural communities, with over $10 million in federal grants realized to date.

Comment on this story

Utah has it all when it comes to energy resources and opportunities. The governor’s vision for creating his Office of Energy Development has propelled Utah to become a national and global leader for advancing a wise “all-of-the-above” approach with market-driven policies, and an industrious and innovative workforce. With OED viewed as a policy model for several U.S. states, Utah is primed to meet the demands of our rapidly growing economy while successfully navigating an evolving regional and global energy market.

We can all make a difference in building a robust and sustainable future that doesn't pick energy winners and losers. We can be the standard for creating collaborative solutions across that truly make for smart growth, clean air and life elevated.