USU study: Wind power could mean huge $$$

A newly-released Utah State University-U.S. Department of Energy study estimates that a modest 50-megawatt wind power development in Summit County, Utah, could generate more than $31 million in economic output to the state of Utah during its construction. It could support 51 onsite construction jobs with a total payroll of almost $3 million, the study concludes.”Wind power can create attractive economic opportunities for a local community in terms of new jobs, lease payments to landowners and new property tax revenues,” said Cathy Hartman, marketing professor in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business and one of the co-authors of the study. During its first year of operation, a 50-megawatt wind power plant could generate about $150,000 in land lease payments to Summit County landowners. It could also generate more than $800,000 in local property taxes for Summit County, of which more than $631,000 would support the South Summit School District, the study concludes. The report, “An Analysis of State-Level Economic Impacts from the Development of Wind Power Plants in Summit County, Utah,” is available from the U.S. Department of Energy Web site, (http://www.windpoweringamerica.gov/pdfs/economic_development/2009/ut_summit_county.pdf ). The study examines the economic impacts of several scenarios of wind-project installations, ranging in size from 25 megawatts to 130 megawatts, for the Porcupine Ridge area of Summit County. The Utah State Energy Program’s anemometer loan program has identified the Porcupine Ridge site as having wind resources sufficient for large commercial development.The economic impacts were estimated using the Job and Economic Development Impact (JEDI) model developed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo. David Ratliff, a USU graduate and Edwin Stafford, Huntsman marketing professor, were co-authors of the study. “Property tax revenues from wind power plants can be a real economic boon for schools,” Stafford said. “Even a modest-sized wind project could infuse millions of dollars into the local school district over its 20-year life.” Utah’s first wind farm opened at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon in the summer of 2008. That successful project overcame numerous policy, locational considerations and market obstacles to pave the way for more wind development throughout the state, according to Hartman. For example, a 203.5-megawatt wind project is expected to open by year’s end near Milford, which is in southern Utah. “Development of Summit County’s wind resources could bring additional economic and environmental benefits and foster a rural renaissance across the state,” she said. The Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University seeks to inspire and equip students to become innovative, ethical leaders with refined analytical skills that will help them understand and succeed in the global marketplace. The Huntsman School of Business is one of seven colleges at USU, located in the beautiful Wasatch Range of northern Utah. More information on the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business may be found at www.huntsman.usu.edu.

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