Utah part of “clean energy vision” for Western states

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Source: CVDaily Feed
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SALT LAKE CITY – Utah and other western states will get more done by working together to modernize the power grid and welcome clean energy into the mix. That’s the message for policymakers and utility companies from Western Clean Energy Advocates. The coalition says if western states and utility ratepayers are going to invest $200 billion in the next 20 years to update the electric system, they should focus on fuels and technology that curb the effects of climate change and increase energy security.

Sarah Wright, executive director of Utah Clean Energy, thinks it should be a boost for Utah in terms of research, innovation and jobs.

“It’s a real economic driver. It provides risk-free energy going forward,” she said. “My hope is that common sense and economics will prevail and we will see a lot more clean energy developed, in concert with a very aggressive energy-efficiency strategy.”

Just making buildings more energy efficient can keep the country’s energy needs from growing while updates to the power grid are being made, Wright said. According to the coalition, it created its “Clean Energy Vision” because each state and public utility commission handles these issues differently and could benefit from working on common goals as a region.

The coalition is made up of almost 20 clean-energy groups and wildlife and public lands advocates. Amanda Ormond, a director for the Western Grid Group, said it is a marriage that makes sense, especially in the wide-open spaces of states like Utah.

“They recognize that climate change is the biggest threat to the land that we all love,” she said. “So, when you build transmission or you build generation, what we’re trying to do is steer development to the least-conflict place possible.”

The Clean Energy Vision includes a list of high-tech recommendations for a more sophisticated and flexible system of power generation, forecasting and scheduling. Ormond warned if the U.S. doesn’t develop the technology, other nations will do it – and sell it to us.

More information about the coalition is available at www.cleanenergyvision.org.