The Intermountain Power Agency in Millard County is replacing its coal-fired generators with a natural gas and hydrogen power plant. As planning continues, the Utah Foundation released the “Plugging into the Future of Electricity” report. This report details how the change came about as California, where IPA exports its electricity, decided to no longer accept coal-based power.
The Utah Foundation reported on the economic impacts of the project, but senior analyst Christopher Collard said it wasn’t clear.
“There is a lot of uncertainty because nothing like this exists yet,” Collard said.
But so far the report is promising.
“So we’re exporting our electricity, that brings extra money into the system,” Collard said. “And that really makes a substantial difference for these communities. “
Utah Foundation President Peter Reichard said the project represents a $ 2 billion investment. Construction contracts on the project will account for 10% of the county’s employment, but Reichard said Millard County would not be the only one to benefit.
“It also means that there will be a lot of opportunities for us as a state to seize the initiative in innovation as we move towards this greener economy,” said Reichard.
Collard said that Utah’s geological salt structures that can naturally store energy give our state a unique opportunity to develop clean energy. It’s something Reichard said Utah can take advantage of.
“Usually there are winners and losers,” Reichard said. “So we have to make sure that we get more in the wins column than in the lost column.”