The Salt Lake Chamber is no stranger to the economic development benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy. So they were happy, but not surprised, to learn that a record-breaking 7,000 new jobs would be coming to the state—thanks to new solar energy projects.
“Not everyone first thinks of Utah as a state that values energy efficiency and renewable energy,” said Ryan Evans, the chamber’s Vice President of Business and Community Relations. “But, viewing them through the lens of economic development, they are truly conservative issues in this state,” said Evans, who also serves as Executive Administrator of the Utah State Chamber.
Utah-based Vivint Solar, which Sun Edison has announced it will acquire, reported in late July that it will expand operations in Utah, adding an estimated 3,000 jobs over the coming decade. On the same day, California-based Solar City announced that it plans to open a regional corporate headquarters in Utah that is expected to create 4,000 jobs and bring $94 million in capital investment.
“As possibly the single largest job announcement made in one day in Utah’s history, this is definitely a great showpiece for solar energy,” Evans said.
The Salt Lake Chamber operates several clean energy initiatives of its own, including an Annual Clean Air Summit, Clear the Air Challenge, and a Clean Air Champions program. Additionally, the Chamber supports such programs as Rocky Mountain Power’s Watt Smart program for businesses, Salt Lake City’s Project Skyline, and other energy efficiency focused efforts in Utah.
“The chamber actively promotes energy efficiency and renewable energy,” Evans said. “They are important to the economy, help clear the air, and are helping to prepare Utah for what is expected to be the doubling of its population over the next 30 years.
“We have to meet that growth head-on,” he added, “and energy efficiency and clean energy are important tools for us to do so proactively.”