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An Analysis of the Economic Impact on Utah County, Utah from the Development of Wind Power Plants

An Analysis of the Economic Impact on Utah County, Utah from the Development of Wind Power Plants

File: An Analysis of the Economic Impact on Utah County, Utah from the Development of Wind Power Plants

Date: 5/1/2006

Location: UT

In the face of rising natural gas prices and dwindling economically recoverable coal reserves in Utah, wind power development has been proposed as an alternative to diversify Utah's sources of electricity generation. Wind power is commonly touted as a "win-win" for the environment and local communities, generating virtually emission-free electricity and spurring economic opportunities in the construction and operation of wind parks, particularly in agricultural communities. The feasibility of developing wind for electricity, however, is contingent on a number of issues, including sufficient wind resources, transmission access, siting approval, avian issues, aesthetics, and local community support.

The purpose of this report is to provide information for decision-makers by quantifying the likely economic impact of wind development on Utah County in the state of Utah using an input-output economic model developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) called the Jobs and Economic Development Impact (JEDI) Model. Using basic information about a wind project (e.g., size of facility, etc.) and county-level multipliers and personal expenditure patterns, JEDI calculates the project cost (i.e., specific expenditures) as well as the number of jobs, income (i.e., wages and salary), and total related economic activity that a wind project will stimulate. The economic analysis for Utah County was conducted for five wind project size scenarios by their capacity in megawatts (MW): (1) 5 MW, (2) 10 MW, (3) 14.71 MW, (4) 20 MW, and (5) 25 MW. This analysis may interest city, county, and state government officials; wind developers; renewable energy advocates; and other interested stakeholders contemplating decisions about Utah's energy and economic future.

This information was last updated on May 09, 2006