nA coalition opposed to planned nuclear power plants in Utah has filed a protest with the state engineer over the massive amounts of water that would be needed for the project. Transition Power Development, the outfit proposing the nuclear power plants, has secured more than 30,000 acre feet of water for eventual plant operation. Whether or not you think rebranding Utah “the nuke state,” or fear a homegrown Three Mile Island, there is good reason to question plant plans based on water use alone. How clean is a “clean energy” source if it sucks up so much H2O, a commodity more precious in Utah than oil shale, and arguably more valuable than the electricity the power plants would produce. n n
nConstruction has begun on a $400 million wind farm in Utah’s Beaver and Millard counties. First Wind, the company behind the 300-megawatt project, plans to erect 97 turbines on 40 miles of windy ground. In addition to hundreds of construction jobs, the wind power project will greatly increase property tax assessments for the two western Utah counties. Currently, power generated by the farm is set to be shipped to California. Golden State cities financed the project as a way of meeting state mandates for getting more power from renewable resources. If nothing else, it’s better than California’s past practice—burning our coal and piping the resulting power back to the West Coast.
nFederal power overseers have pulled the plug on expansion of a coal-fired power plant in eastern Utah. The Environmental Protection Agency had earlier granted permission for a California utility-backed 110-megawatt plant on the Uintah and Ouray Indian reservation. But the Sierra Club, along with Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, protested, saying the EPA hadn’t dealt with the millions of tons of greenhouse gases the proposed plants would emit. The U.S. Supreme Court, they noted, has already rejected the Bush EPA’s argument that CO2 isn’t a pollutant. Overturning the permit, an EPA appeals panel called regulation of CO2 “an issue of national scope.” It will be up to Barack Obama’s EPA to decide the fate of the proposed coal-burning plant in Utah and hundreds of others.