We live in exciting times. The abundance of inexpensive fossil fuels has powered America to its industrial greatness, the strongest economy the world has ever known. These energy resources have provided untold value for industry, business, government and recreation. Where would we be today without the abundance of reliable and inexpensive electricity and natural gas?
But as we know, there is a price to be paid and harmful emissions from coal-fired power plants have proven to be detrimental to not only our collective health, but sensitive populations suffer even more on bad air days.
Even though Utah has been blessed with some of the world’s cleanest, low-sulphur coal, and power plants have spent millions to mitigate emissions, consumers will choose more and more in the future the renewable route to the new energy economy.
Consumer and customer choice is key in the
New Energy Economy.
Interestingly, as public utility companies begin to transition away from coal to cleaner natural gas and renewables such as solar and wind resources, scientists now know that more harmful emissions are coming from automobiles.
A careful balancing act must occur in order to keep Utah’s low energy prices affordable and reliable as we decrease our dependence on coal and transition to the New Energy Economy.
Clean Energy Legislative Academy
This past summer, I had the opportunity to attend an exciting legislative conference, Clean Energy Legislative Academy that exposed me to exciting policies that will help transition us to the new energy economy where renewables will quickly replace coal-fired power plants in the years to come.
Currently, 70% of Utah’s electricity is derived from coal but that percentage will decline as technologies improve and prices are competitive. Utah’s wind resources are minimal but for utility-scale solar, hundreds of acres of solar panels, our southern desert high country is the mecca!
Solar panel photo: © depositphoto
Outstanding Leadership Award,
Utah Energy Issues,
Utah Association of Energy Users, 2017.
A Road Map to De-Carbonization
Here are five principles of de-carbonization that will guide my policies as your representative:
1—The grid is our economy’s greatest physical asset and utilities are the stewards.
2—Utilities are the engine of innovation and deployment at scale.
3—Enabling greater customer choice, and enhancing customer experience, can be done within fundamental rate design elements.
4—Our economy will continue to electrify and utilities should be and will be the architects of that transition.
My Legislative Philosophy
While more laws and regulations can be helpful, it’s more important to remove barriers and let free enterprise reign, while providing reasonable environmental controls.
Free enterprise will move us more rapidly to the new energy economy than government mandates.
It’s an exciting time!
Chair, Public Utilities Energy and Technology Committee
2014 HB 44 Interstate Electric Transmissions
• Mandates that a transmission developer must allow access for Utah renewable energy sources.
2016 HB 242 Alternative Energy Development Tax Credits
• Modifies an exemption from state sales taxes for electricity if produced from alternative energy sources.
2017 HB 297 Renewable Energy Amendments
• Allows an out-of-state renewable energy developer to transmit electricity to a specific Utah customer.
2019 Sustainable Transportation and
Energy Plan Amendments
“The abundance (and relative cheapness) of fossil fuels is the main impediment to tackling harmful emissions that create greenhouse gases.”
National GeographicJuly 2018
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES • DISTRICT 16 • REPUBLICAN
© 2018 Stephen G. Handy • Paid for by friends of Steve Handy.