A recent study by Clean Energy Utah shows that Utah can gain thousands of new jobs and millions of dollars in revenue if the state were to obtain 20% of its electricity from renewable resources by 2020 and achieve a 20% increase in energy efficiency by 2015.
‘Building the Clean Energy Economy: A Study on Jobs and Economic Development of Clean Energy in Utah’ was conducted at the request of the governor's energy advisor, Dianne Nielson.
According to this macroeconomic analysis, new investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy in the state of Utah will result in the following:
– nearly 7,000 net new ongoing jobs in the state by 2020,
– $310 million in net new annual earnings, and
– $300 million net annual increase in gross domestic product by state.
The benefits estimated in this analysis are likely conservative, because it assumes that the production and use of renewable energy and increased energy efficiency addresses only the demand within the state's borders and does not model the economic benefits if Utah becomes a leader and exporter of products, goods and services related to clean energy industries.
Renewable energy resources complement and help diversify Utah's existing electricity resources while creating new opportunities for jobs and economic development, especially in the state's rural communities, according to the study. The renewable energy resources modeled in this study are predominantly wind and geothermal, with some solar and biomass resources.
This study models two distinct energy portfolio scenarios in the year 2020 and uses a Utah state projected employment baseline for comparison.
The reference scenario reflects 2007 utility resource planning documents. It is based closely on PacifiCorp's 2007 electricity resource planning documents and treats the entire state of Utah as if it follows PacifiCorp's electricity plan through the year 2020.
By 2020, this scenario develops new natural-gas plants, 9% renewable energy (mostly wind from Wyoming) and a modest amount of energy efficiency through utility demand-side management programs.
The 20% clean energy scenario represents significantly more renewable energy and energy efficiency measures than the reference scenario. In this model, renewable energy represents 20% of Utah electricity sales in 2020, and energy efficiency is increased statewide by 20% by 2015.
SOURCE: Clean Energy Utah