Legislators recently adopted legislation aimed at helping Utah stay competitive with surrounding states in the fast growing national clean energy movement. Five (5) bills dealing with renewable energy and energy efficiency passed with strong bi-partisan support. Three (3) resolutions, while non-binding, send strong messages to local governments and utilities that the legislature encourages, and wants to remove barriers to, renewable energy and energy efficiency across all sectors. The success of the 2009 legislative session indicate that renewable energy will play critical roles in Utah’s future.
House Bill 430 – Economic Development Incentives for Alternative Energy Projects, is designed to attract new clean energy industries and projects to Utah. The bill allows the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) to establish energy development zones and offer tax credits to companies and projects located in those zones.
Senate Bill 76 SO3– Energy Amendments, address the barriers to renewable energy transmission by creating a political subdivision of the State tasked with the development of a master plan for renewable energy production and transmission infrastructure. This subdivision will have the ability to apply for and seek out federal grants, as well as bonding authority to pay for transmission lines for renewable energy.
Senate Joint Resolution 1 S02 Renewable Energy System, urges the Utah State Energy Program and municipal governments to collaborate on the development of model renewable energy ordinances to streamline the development process at the local government level.
Senate Joint Resolution 10 – Alternative Training Center, recognizes the need to train the growing clean energy workforce in Utah. The bill supports the establishment of an Alternative Energy Training Center in Beaver County, an area with high concentration of existing, upcoming and potential renewable energy development.
House Joint Resolution 9 – Effective Energy Efficiency and Utility Demand Side Management, recognizes energy efficiency as a priority resource and urges state and local governments and utilities to promote and encourage all available cost-effective energy efficiency and conservation, setting voluntary energy savings goals for Rocky Mountain Power and Questar Gas and expresses support for regulatory mechanisms that remove disincentives to utility energy efficiency and conservation.