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Energy Week: Utah Lawmakers Addressing Energy Challenges and Opportunity

Utah legislators have declared Jan. 29-Feb. 2 as “Energy Week” at the Utah Legislature, where a series of energy-related bills will be discussed. Lawmakers are concerned about federal policies and pressure which they believe are contributing to the possibility of rolling blackouts in the state. They aim to prevent Utah from repeating the same mistakes made by other states that have demolished reliable and affordable generating resources and replaced them with intermittent and expensive ones that only work 20% of the time.

House Speaker Mike Schultz emphasized that energy is a top priority during the current legislative session. While there is recognition of the need to transition to clean energy sources, it must be done at a reasonable and fiscally sound pace. He highlighted that 58% of Utah’s current power capabilities, including a larger percentage during peak power times, come from coal. This emphasizes the importance of careful planning and an “all of the above” approach to ensure a reliable and secure energy future.

Among the energy-related bills being discussed, Rep. Colin Jack has introduced three bills focused on addressing Utah’s energy challenges. One of his bills, HB191, puts guardrails around the potential early retirement of coal-fired power plants. The aim is to ensure that a viable resource is ready to replace any power plant unit that goes offline. There are concerns from clean energy advocates that this bill limits the discretion of the Public Service Commission.

Rep. Carl Albrecht, chair of the Public Utilities, Energy and Technology Committee, is sponsoring HB241, which aims to redefine “clean” energy and include sources like nuclear, geothermal, and pumped storage, in addition to renewables. Albrecht and Jack believe that Utah needs to embrace emerging technologies such as geothermal and nuclear, but the affordability and scalability of these sources remain a challenge.

Lawmakers are also addressing issues related to the Intermountain Power Agency (IPA), particularly its power plant oversight in Delta. Sen. Scott Sandall has introduced SB120, which seeks to establish a governance board with representation from lawmakers, the governor’s office, and municipalities served by IPA. The aim is to address concerns regarding IPA’s out-of-state coal purchases and its transition to natural gas from external sources.

Energy Week provides an opportunity for Utah lawmakers to address the challenges and opportunities in the energy sector. By taking a thoughtful and comprehensive approach, they aim to ensure a secure and sustainable energy future for the state while balancing the need for affordability and reliability.

An FAQ section based on the main topics and information presented in the article:

Q: Why have Utah legislators declared Jan. 29-Feb. 2 as “Energy Week”?
A: The Utah legislators have declared “Energy Week” to discuss a series of energy-related bills and address concerns about federal policies and pressure that could lead to rolling blackouts in the state.

Q: What is the main focus of Utah lawmakers regarding energy?
A: The main focus of Utah lawmakers is to ensure a reliable and secure energy future for the state while transitioning to clean energy sources at a reasonable and fiscally sound pace. They emphasize a “all of the above” approach to energy generation.

Q: How much of Utah’s current power capabilities come from coal?
A: According to House Speaker Mike Schultz, 58% of Utah’s current power capabilities, including a larger percentage during peak power times, come from coal.

Q: What is the purpose of Rep. Colin Jack’s bill, HB191?
A: Rep. Colin Jack’s bill, HB191, aims to put guardrails around the potential early retirement of coal-fired power plants in Utah, ensuring that a viable resource is ready to replace any offline unit.

Q: What does Rep. Carl Albrecht’s bill, HB241, aim to do regarding “clean” energy?
A: Rep. Carl Albrecht’s bill, HB241, aims to redefine “clean” energy in Utah and include sources like nuclear, geothermal, and pumped storage, in addition to renewables.

Q: What is the purpose of Sen. Scott Sandall’s bill, SB120?
A: Sen. Scott Sandall’s bill, SB120, seeks to establish a governance board for the Intermountain Power Agency (IPA) in Delta, which would include representation from lawmakers, the governor’s office, and municipalities, to address concerns about IPA’s coal purchases and transition to natural gas.

Q: What are the main goals of Energy Week for Utah lawmakers?
A: Energy Week aims to provide an opportunity for Utah lawmakers to address challenges and opportunities in the energy sector. They aim to ensure a secure and sustainable energy future for the state while balancing affordability and reliability.

Definitions:
– Rolling blackouts: Planned electricity outages that rotate through different areas or sectors in order to avoid a complete power grid failure.
– Intermittent: In this context, it refers to energy sources that are not continuously available but sporadically generate power.
– Public Service Commission: A government agency that regulates the rates and services of public utilities, including energy providers.
– Geothermal: Energy derived from the heat of the Earth’s interior.
– Scalability: The ability of an energy source or technology to be expanded or increased in size or capacity.

Suggested related links:
Utah Office of Energy Development
Official Website of Utah State Government

By Daniel Hall

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Daniel Hall is a noted author and researcher with a focus on energy efficiency and smart city technologies in the United States. His work explores the integration of innovative energy solutions into urban infrastructure, emphasizing the role of technology in enhancing sustainability and resilience in American cities. Hall's analysis of how smart grids, renewable energy sources, and energy-efficient technologies can transform urban living is both comprehensive and forward-looking. His contributions are highly regarded for shedding light on the path towards more sustainable and technologically advanced urban environments.