Utahns: Future Energy Resources In Utah Should Be Reliable
Results from a public outreach survey in Utah indicate Utahns want to protect themselves from price and supply shock when it comes to energy use.
The Envision Utah campaign, Your Utah Your Future, included a state-wide online survey where residents were asked to share their opinions about energy, land use, air quality, education and other topics related to population growth and development in the state during the next 50 years.
Betsy Byrne is a lead planner for Envision Utah. This week the organization released results from the energy portion of the survey that included nearly 53,000 residents.
“They really want a reliable source of energy,” Byrne said.
Utahns want cleaner power generation and those surveyed also support a shift away from coal. Rather than relying on expensive energy storage to maintain a supply consumers in both rural and urban areas of the state said they would rather use a base of natural gas.
“Utahns really would like to see a balance of uses and they are definitely interested in agriculture,” Byrne said. “If there are places where there are wind and solar farms that could take up agricultural land they might be less interested in having that land eaten up. There is a possibility of balancing those uses. You can put agricultural fields and wind turbines in the same place.”
Byrne said efforts were made by Envision Utah to encourage as many rural residents as possible to participate in the campaign that is designed to be used as a resource to help direct a future Utah where the population is expected to double during the next five decades.
To help validate the findings and determine a balance among opinions, Envision Utah conducted a profiling survey. Byrne said that while 80 percent of those who responded live along the Wasatch Front, the number represents the state’s rural and urban population breakdown. She said responses given by those living in urban areas did differ from those living in more rural communities. When asked about energy residents living in rural areas were more concerned about the economics of energy development.
“People in the Uintah Basin and other areas make a living out of energy development, so it was really important to them that economic development continues,” Said Bryne.
In the weeks to come Envision Utah is expected to release results from the public outreach survey about education and the environment, including air quality.