The United States Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced last week that Utah’s Energy Diversification and Innovation (UEDI) coalition is a finalist for the Build Back Better Regional Challenge.
The 60 Phase 1 Finalists, chosen from a pool of 529 applicants, each received $500,000 of technical assistance funds to further develop their proposed projects. In Phase 2, 20-30 applicants will be chosen for $25-$75 million awards and potentially receive up to $100 million. The intention of the UEDI proposal, led by the Utah Office of Energy Development (OED), is to increase Utah’s energy resilience and diversify rural Utah’s economy through advanced energy research and production, as well as workforce development.
“Utah’s all-of-the-above approach to energy development makes us a strong energy producer and exporter,” said Thom Carter, Executive Director of OED. “As the energy landscape continues to evolve, programs like this will help Utah’s rural communities diversify their energy production, ensuring their workforce is prepared to meet market needs. Investments like this will enable rural Utah to flourish and preserve their quality of life for many more generations.”
Components of the proposal include the San Rafael Energy Innovation Center; a Smart Manufacturing Commercialization and Innovation Center; an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Support Center; and Workforce Training, capitalizing on existing energy workforce skill sets to create new, high-paying career opportunities in rural Utah. In addition to OED, coalition members include Emery County, the Southeast Utah Economic Development District, Utah Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Initiative, the University of Utah, and Weber State University.