The eUtah Project: A Roadmap to Utah's Energy Future

Check out the video from our Fall Party 2011 featuring Dr. Mark Jacobson: How Renewable Energy Can Power the World.

Overview

Utah, like the rest of the nation, is at an energy crossroads. We need to develop resources that meet demand, keep the economy going, and preserve the environment. At the same time, we must address our energy challenges without turning to nuclear power and adding to our state's already heavy nuclear burden. For decades, Utah has borne the brunt of a nuclear industry that has extracted uranium from our soils only to return it in the form of nuclear waste and the radioactive fallout from nuclear testing.

Now with the threat of nuclear power development in our state and nation, an expanding nuclear waste company with global ambitions, and a state energy policy in need of leadership, HEAL began the eUtah Renewable Energy Project to point us in a better direction.

Many people believe that renewable energy-- resources such as solar, wind, and geothermal-- deserve a bigger piece of our state's energy pie. The question is: Just how much energy can they realistically contribute? What happens when the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing?

The eUtah Project sets out to methodically answer these questions by assessing the technical and economic feasibility of generating all of Utah's electricity through renewable energy sources. Read more here.

HEAL Utah is working with Dr. Arjun Makhijani from the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER) in Washington, D.C., who is the lead researcher on the project. The eUtah Study is modeled after Dr. Makhijani's landmark 2007 study, Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy, which lays out a 50-year plan for transitioning our country away from both nuclear and fossil fuels without impacting our standard of living.

Vision

We believe there is a better way to develop our energy and economic resources than relying on nuclear and coal-based fuels, and sound science and concrete policy recommendations should be established to point the way forward. 

Purpose and Approach

Instead of handicapping our efforts to address Utah's energy problems by throwing more taxpayer dollars at the most heavily subsidized source of electricity in U.S. history-- the nuclear industry-- we believe the full potential of renewables must be thoroughly assessed.

Our purpose through the eUtah Project is to promote increased understanding of the different ways we can produce renewable energy practically and economically. We are working with scientists, policy makers, regulators, and key energy stakeholders in this effort. (See below for links.)

Content

The eUtah Project will produce a roadmap showing how we can couple efficiency measures with new ways of integrating intermittent and baseload renewable resources to reliably meet Utah's electricity demands in the coming decades.

Objectives

When the study is complete, it will:

  • Examine the economic and technical potential of renewable energy to power our economy, compared to fossil fuel and nuclear power. This includes the study of concentrated and photovoltaic solar, geothermal, wind power, and compressed air energy storage.
  • Assess the energy savings that can be achieved from efficiency measures using available technology
  • Assess the potential for transitioning Utah’s coal-dependent communities to renewable sector industries, and the policies necessary to accomplish this.
  • Develop and promote overall renewable energy policies out of the Study’s recommendations, which our state leaders can use in planning for Utah's energy future.

Who is Involved 

To ensure that our work does not remain an ivory tower activity, but is informed and supported by energy stakeholders, we created an Advisory Board of individuals involved in key energy, regulatory, political, and financial fields. Our research team includes researchers from BYU and Utah State.

HEAL Utah's role is to manage the workflow and innumerable "moving parts" of this project; to assist in research activities; to educate and organize regulatory, political, and municipal leaders on our findings; and to spearhead the grassroots outreach and education on the Project's ultimate recommendations.

Timelines:

Phase 1 of the eUtah Project comprises the economic and technical analysis on the potential for renewable energy to power Utah's economy. This began in early 2009. We expect Phase 1 to be complete in mid-2010

Phase 2 of the eUtah Project will begin immediately after Phase 1, and involves formulating policy recommendations on the study's findings, educating the general public and key state leaders, and building widespread support for implementation of the resulting policies. 


This work is supported in part by program grants from the Cultural Vision Fund,  the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, the Hemingway Foundation, Patagonia, and the O.C. Tanner Charitable Trust.