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Renewable Vibes > News > Renewable Energy > Utah is one of the Western states facing an increased risk of energy shortages.

Utah is one of the Western states facing an increased risk of energy shortages.

Lawmakers in Utah are raising concerns about federal policies and political pressure that could lead to rolling blackouts in the state. The National Energy Reliability Corp. has classified a large portion of the West, including Utah, as “Code Orange,” indicating an elevated risk of not being able to meet energy demands.

Representative Colin Jack, a Republican from St. George, warns against repeating the mistakes made by other states, which involved replacing reliable and affordable power generation resources with intermittent and expensive ones that only work 20% of the time. Many states that have taken this approach have experienced regular rolling blackouts due to a lack of excess capacity in the market to meet energy needs.

To address these concerns, Utah’s legislature has declared Jan. 29-Feb. 2 as “Energy Week,” during which a number of energy-related bills will be discussed. Representative Jack has introduced three bills that will be heard in the Public Utilities, Energy and Technology Committee. House Speaker Mike Schultz emphasizes that energy is a top priority in this legislative session, particularly due to concerns about federal regulations and the need to transition to clean energy sources.

One of the bills sponsored by Representative Jack, HB191, aims to put guardrails around the potential early retirement of coal-fired power plants. It requires the Public Service Commission to ensure that there is a viable replacement resource before any power plant unit goes offline. Clean energy advocates argue that this bill restricts the discretion of the Public Service Commission.

Another bill, HB48, mandates the Office of Energy Development to address federal regulatory hurdles and oversee long-range energy planning. This bill was proposed in response to a legislative audit that criticized the effectiveness of the energy office.

Representative Jack’s third bill, HB374, solidifies Utah’s commitment to clean, reliable, dispatchable, secure, and sustainable energy. It prioritizes energy resources based on adequacy, reliability, and dispatchability.

Both Representative Jack and Representative Albrecht, who chairs the Public Utilities, Energy and Technology Committee, believe that Utah should embrace emerging technologies such as geothermal and nuclear power. However, these energy sources are currently not affordable on a large scale.

The lawmakers also express concerns about the Intermountain Power Agency (IPA) and its power plant oversight in Delta. Senate Bill 120 aims to establish a governance board over the plant that includes lawmakers from both the House and Senate, an appointee from the governor’s office, and a representative from one of the municipalities served by the plant. The IPA has faced criticism for its lack of state oversight and transparency.

In conclusion, lawmakers in Utah are advocating for a reliable and affordable energy grid going into the future. They believe that federal policies and political pressure are threatening the state’s energy security and aim to address these issues through legislation.

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