In addition to the large, majestic rocky mountains and valleys throughout the state, not to mention the beautiful ranches and pastures everywhere, I was very excited to see a few large-scale solar farms during my time in Utah. Looking at the climate, which is certainly consistent with what we experienced, it’s not hard to see why (check out the following to see what I mean: https://www.visitutah.com/plan-your-trip/weather). There is plenty of sunshine in Utah, and while the temperature may fluctuate greatly throughout the year, or even throughout the day, because humidity is low, the climate can be fairly arid.
From the sound of it, and by the appearance of it, solar energy should be pretty wide-spread in Utah, right? Well, they’re certainly improving in the area of bio fuels anyway – check out the full report from Energy.gov, here: https://energy.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/Utahs-Energy-Landscape-5th-Edition.pdf. According to the report, “Renewable energy has historically been dominated by hydroelectric power, but geothermal and wind have grown in significance over the past two decades. Nearly 1 gigawatt of utility-scale solar was built in 2015 and 2016, more capacity than hydroelectric, geothermal, and wind combined, creating a large spike in renewable energy production in recent years (but still only enough to increase renewables’ share from about 2% to 6%).”
For like comparisons from previous state energy profile blogs however (Texas, https://suntexllc.com/3673-2/; New Mexico; Colorado), let’s also check out the following link and see what we can find: https://www.eia.gov/state/?sid=UT:
- “Utah accounts for 1 in every 10 barrels of crude oil produced in the Rocky Mountain region. The state’s five oil refineries, all located in the Salt Lake City area, can process nearly 200,000 barrels of crude oil per calendar day.”
- “In 2020, 61% of Utah’s electricity net generation came from coal-fired power plants, down from 75% five years earlier, while natural gas-fired and solar power generation increased.”
- “Utah’s per capita energy consumption in the residential sector is the third-lowest among the states, after Hawaii and California.”
Looking at the full picture, it seems as though Utah has a pretty healthy energy system, particularly given their lower demand for energy overall in comparison with the other 49 U.S. states, and has rapidly begun to increase the use of renewable energy sources. Given the state’s particular climate, and wide-open mountain views, it’s easy to see that while they’re not the large drivers of climate change, we would be remiss not to consider the land here a vital environment worth protecting. As for me, I can’t wait to go back and see it someday in the near future! Feel free to add your favorite destinations in Utah in the comments below.