PART 3 – UNDERSTANDING UTAH’S CLEAN ENERGY LANDSCAPE
When people think of Utah, they think of mountains, deserts, National Parks, the Salt Lake, weak beer, and maybe even the state’s complex relationship with polygamy as depicted in shows like Big Love! If they know much about natural resources, they might think about coal mining (we do have a region called Carbon County), the Kennecott Copper mine which is visible from space, and the “inversion” that keeps pollution thick and soupy in the Salt Lake Valley on certain days.
Some of those things are right – it’s a beautiful place, the history is unique, and its industrial heritage is strictly fossil. But the fast-evolving Utah is many other things: a world leader in energy storage project size, solar top 10 in the U.S., and an aggressive clean energy goal-setter.
For our last post on what you need to know before you go to Salt Lake City for Solar Power International, we’ve taken a look at the clean energy landscape in Utah and what that means for the industry.
Utah’s Clean Energy Landscape
- 100% RENEWABLES – Salt Lake’s Mayor Jackie Biskupski has made 100% renewable energy for community electricity a goal by 2032 through the city’s Climate Positive SLC program. Mayor Biskupski and Rocky Mountain Power CEO Cindy Crane signed a Clean Energy Cooperation Statement detailing goals, timing and scope for this vision.
- BIG STORAGE – Utah is home to the world’s largest energy storage plant (100MW). You probably won’t see it during SPI – it’s a few hours from SLC – but it puts Utah on the map for storage. Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems and Magnum Development are behind the project, which is located at the site of a salt cavern formation in a remote part of the state.
- BIG SOLAR – Utah has a tremendous and largely untapped solar resource, and the potential for solar development is widespread across the state. The potential for CSP is about 826 Gigawatts (GW); roof-top solar PV as of 2010 is approximately 5 GW. Community Solar is just getting started in a couple counties.
- Incentives include State Tax Credit: 25% of total costs up to $2,000; Federal Tax Credit: 30% with no cap (expired December 2016); and Utah Solar Incentive Program: $0.80 to $1.25 per watt. (My favorite Utah solar info source is Solar Simplified).
- MOMENTUM – The storage plant was just announced in May, and Utah’s SEIA ranking jumped from No. 18 in 2018 to No. 10 in 2019 with 6,045 jobs and 140 companies. In fact, you’ll have solar panels over your head at the Convention Center.
We hope to see you in Salt Lake! Hit us up to maximize your SPI experience at firstname.lastname@example.org