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Utah Among Nation's Green Jobs Leaders

Workers for Deseret Power line up with shovels for the groundbreaking
Deseret Power
A solar farm in Saint George.

Utah ranks fourth on a new top 10 list of states seeing job growth in clean energy and clean transportation.

Environmental Entrepreneurs or E2 is a nonpartisan group that tracks new project announcements in the fields of clean power, energy conservation and efficiency, and reports the results by state.

Bob Keefe, E2 executive director, said a single Utah announcement catapulted the state onto the list of top job creators for the second quarter of 2015. It's the plan for three solar farms to be built in Beaver and Iron Counties by SunEdison, adding to what the company is already building there.

"This is an expansion of SunEdison's other solar work in Utah over the past few years, that's really helping create jobs but also helping keep Utah beautiful and clean," Keefe said.

The latest solar project is expected to mean 800 jobs for southern Utah, at least during the construction phase.

The E2 report says it's one of almost 40 clean-energy and clean-transportation projects announced in 22 states from April through the end of June.

Texas, California and Nevada made the top three spots on the list.

Keefe knows Utah is also a hub for fossil fuel development, but as in Texas, the state that got the top ranking for clean-energy job growth, he said more people have decided it's important to at least give renewables a level playing field.

"When folks talk about letting market forces dictate what happens in energy, and that somehow we shouldn't be supporting clean energy equally to how we've supported fossil-fuel energy over the years, it's just a false debate," he said.