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Report: Utah Ranks 4th in Clean-Energy Job Growth

Iron County, Utah is known for its Cedar Breaks National Monument, but also for plentiful sunshine that has prompted a flurry of solar farm development. Credit: Marc Averette/Wikimedia Commons
Iron County, Utah is known for its Cedar Breaks National Monument, but also for plentiful sunshine that has prompted a flurry of solar farm development. Credit: Marc Averette/Wikimedia Commons
September 4, 2015

PAROWAN, Utah - 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, says 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," says Keefe.

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 says 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 says.

Nationwide, the report says projects were announced that are expected to create more than 10,000 jobs in clean energy.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - UT