Governor to energy industry: planning key to long-term success

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Gov. Gary Herbert emphasized the importance of Utah’s energy sector to spur economic development and the need to work together for a brighter energy future at the fourth annual Governor’s Energy Summit Thursday.

Praising them for their activity to deliver affordable, sustainable and clean energy to Utah, the governor encouraged energy industry workers to continue to work hard and plan ahead for long-term energy production success.

“As the population grows, so will the state’s energy needs,” said Gov. Herbert. “Developing our abundant and diverse energy resources and ensuring they are provided affordably and reliably are two of the great issues of our time.”

Planning may require:

    • Regulatory foresight and flexibility in the electricity and natural gas utility space;
    • Aggressive adoption of best practices with respect to air quality in the oil and gas fields of the Uinta Basin;
    • Development of the infrastructure required to produce more oil and deliver it to new markets;
    • Expansion of electric transmission in rural Utah to grow economies and facilitate the development of renewable energy;
    • Creating partnerships and pathways to continue developing Utah’s world class coal reserves; and
    • Improving our commercial and residential buildings to conserve energy.

Utah has adopted an “all of the above” approach to energy development because competition makes us better. The State advocates for responsible resource development, promotes policies and practices for improved air quality and aggressively pursues technology innovations in energy efficiency and development. This strategy requires Utah to continue developing a new energy workforce through increased STEM education in schools.

Utah’s energy sector doesn’t just power homes and businesses, vehicles and technology, and even make it possible to feed and clothe ourselves; it further helps power the state economy. The energy industry in Utah alone has created 39,000 jobs and provides $21 billion each year in economic activity, representing a significant, and by its very nature, foundational piece of Utah’s broader economy.

Utah is blessed with abundant resources and plays a significant role in energy production. For example, Utah is 11th in the nation in oil production, 10th among states in the production of natural gas; and 14th in the U.S. in the production of coal.

Utah also sits on vast reserves of natural gas, minerals and other energy resources, including the world’s largest deposit of oil shale, representing tens of billions of barrels of potential development; and significant oil sand reserves.

Additionally, Utah is a net exporter of electricity, producing approximately 30 percent more electricity than it consumes. That percentage is projected to increase as dozens of new solar generation facilities rise over the next two years.

The Governor’s Energy Summit occurred in the midst of Utah Energy Development Week and on the heels of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission meetings in Salt Lake City. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper participated in a panel discussion and summit attendees came from around the United States to learn how Utah leads the nation as the best performing economy through smart energy practices.