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Utah State University/Department of Energy Study Projects Economic Impact of Wind Power Development in Utah County

Utah State University/Department of Energy Study Projects Economic Impact of Wind Power Development in Utah County

Date: 5/8/2006

Location: Logan, UT

A Utah State University/U.S. Department of Energy study reports that commercial wind development in Utah County could infuse millions of dollars into the local economy. A proposed 14.7 megawatt (MW) wind park in Spanish Fork could generate about $4.2 million of economic output during construction. Once operational it will provide $240,000 of economic output every year over the project's life.

"Utah is at an energy crossroads," said Cathy L. Hartman, a USU marketing professor and co-author of the peer-reviewed study, "with natural gas prices soaring and Utah facing dwindling economically-viable coal reserves, wind power must be part of Utah's energy future." Utah County is estimated to have around 25 MW of developable wind resources. The report includes economic projections for wind projects up to that level.

The report entitled, "An Analysis of the Economic Impact on Utah County, Utah from the Development of Wind Power Plants," was funded by a congressional grant sponsored by Senator Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah). It finds that the Spanish Fork project would create over 20 jobs during construction and four full-time administrative jobs once operational.

"Wind power is the world's fastest-growing energy source," said Edwin R. Stafford, also a marketing professor at USU and co-author of the study. "Other states are capitalizing on this clean energy source, and our analysis shows that wind development in Utah County can create jobs, lease income for landowners, and tax revenues for the local community." Every year, about $24,000 in property tax revenues will flow from the sale of electricity from the proposed Spanish Fork wind plant into county coffers, and landowners will earn as much as $52,500.

The analysis employs the "Jobs and Economic Impact Development Impact Model" (JEDI Model), an input-output economic model developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. Nikhil Mongha, a recent USU graduate, is also a co-author of the study.

"Our analysis shows that even modest-sized wind parks in Utah can reap significant economic rewards," said Stafford.

Contacts:

Edwin R. Stafford, Ph.D.: office 435-797-3890
Cathy L. Hartman, Ph.D.: office 435-797-4062
Nikhil Mongha, study co-author: cell 435-881-6849

Other Contacts:

Tracy Livingston, Wasatch Wind: cell 801-380-4188
Christine Watson Mikell, Wasatch Wind: cell 801-455-1045
Sarah Wright, Utah Clean Energy: office 801-363-4046

This information was last updated on May 17, 2006