Utah Thrives — Microgrids

Written by: Dan Bammes

We often think of electric power systems as regional in scale — a huge grid of high-voltage power lines connecting dams, power plants and substations to industry and homes across a wide area. That’s how they have evolved over the past century or more. But the idea of smaller, independent power systems that become components of the larger grid while serving their own communities is also becoming current. In this edition of Utah Thrives, we … Continued

Remember Utah’s Indispensable Coal Counties

Written by: Dan Bammes

During a presidential race in the not-too-distant past, one candidate campaigned successfully on his outreach to blue-collar voters, whom he called “the forgotten Americans.” There was a time when blue-collar types were far from forgotten. The most popular TV character was “Happy Days’” the Fonz – an auto mechanic. His circle of friends included Laverne and Shirley – factory workers. Archie Bunker, meanwhile, was a loading dock foreman. James Evans of “Good Times” was a … Continued

Utah Thrives: Coal Ash — Waste or Resource?

Written by: Dan Bammes

Coal-fired power plants have to deal with one problem that won’t go away — the ash left over from burning their fuel. It’s typically put in ponds and piles near the plants, where it poses a risk of environmental contamination to nearby rivers and streams. But the news about coal ash is not all bad. It contains, among other things, concentrations of rare-earth elements that could turn it into a resource. In this edition of … Continued

Looking Back at Utah Foundation Research in 2016

Written by: Dan Bammes

Maybe there’s enough time in these final days of 2016 to catch our breath. We’re looking back at Utah Foundation’s research reports as well as the Utah Priorities Project. A monumental election season has concluded, with a challenging session of Utah’s legislature just ahead. Here’s our ranking of the top ten research findings of the past year, along with links to a report or research brief on each. 1 Only half of new education funds go … Continued

Utah Thrives – Power Equipment and Air Quality

Written by: Dan Bammes

Utah voters identified air quality among the top ten issues facing the state in this year’s Utah Priorities Project survey. The notorious winter inversions that plague the Wasatch Front come to mind — but ozone pollution in the summertime is also a significant concern. And it turns out our use of gasoline-powered lawn and garden equipment is a contributor to the problem. In this episode of Utah Thrives, Dan Bammes talks with Bryce Bird, Executive … Continued

Utah Priorities Project: Explaining the Candidate Survey

Written by: Dan Bammes

Utah Foundation Research Analyst Christopher Collard joined KSL’s Doug Wright on Wednesday, April 6th to talk about the Utah Priorities Project candidate survey. This second report in the 2016 Utah Priorities Project looks at the answers given by seven candidates for governor to a set of questions about issues of concern to Utah voters. The questions are essentially the same as those posed to voters in the first report, which identified the top ten issues … Continued

Utah Thrives — Better Air Quality Begins at Home

Written by: Dan Bammes

Efforts to improve Utah’s notorious winter air quality have focused on vehicles and industrial sources. But it turns out significant pollution comes from furnaces and water heaters in our homes. That problem has been getting some attention in the current legislative session. Efforts are underway to encourage the installation of new, cleaner water heaters in new construction. They emit far lower levels of nitrogen oxides, or NOx. The NOx fumes react in the air to … Continued

Utah Thrives — Legislative Action on Air Quality

Written by: Dan Bammes

With the legislative session set to begin in a few days, air quality will once again be a concern for Utah’s state senators and representatives. Whether it has the same political urgency as it has in past years may depend on just how polluted the air gets – and the view from Capitol Hill. Utah Foundation’s Dan Bammes talks with two members of Utah’s Legislature, Democratic Representative Patrice Arent and Republican Representative Steve Eliason, about … Continued

Waiting for Tier 3: How Soon Will Cleaner Gasoline Come to Utah?

Written by: Dan Bammes

Salt Lake City disappears in a haze of particulate air pollution – January 17, 2015 Utah Governor Gary Herbert has been asking the oil refineries that serve the Utah market to make gasoline that meets the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s Tier 3 standard available as soon as possible. Gasoline refined to the cleaner Tier 3 standard could have a dramatic effect on Utah’s air quality, since the majority of the pollution that gets trapped in … Continued

Top Research Findings of 2014: Part III

Written by: Shawn Teigen

Two reports took the four top spots in 2014.     4: The particularities of current water usage in Utah…   In the second most arid climate in the nation, a vast majority of our water is used in agriculture and to keep our Kentucky blue grass green. (Flowing Toward 2050, released in September 2014.)     3: “…decreases have not necessarily translated into fewer high pollution days.”   Utah (and the U.S.) has been … Continued