Blog Post

Insight: Utah’s Energy Industry

By: John Downen

Note: The opinions expressed are those of the author alone and do not reflect an institutional position of the Gardner Institute. We hope the opinions shared contribute to the marketplace of ideas and help people as they formulate their own INFORMED DECISIONS™.

Energy is fundamental to the functioning of a modern economy. It enables every production process, whether of goods or services, and facilitates practically every human endeavor.

The Gardner Institute recently completed an analysis of the economic impacts of Utah’s energy industry. We found the state’s diverse energy industry plays a significant role in our economy. It encompasses both traditional fossil fuels and renewable resources. The mining sector produces crude oil, natural gas, and coal. Power producers generate electricity from coal and natural gas, as well as hydropower, geothermal, solar, wind, and biomass resources, and distribute it within the state and across the western U.S. Five refineries process crude oil from Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, and Canada, and Utah has the only licensed and operating uranium mill in the country. Dozens of firms manufacture machinery for mining and the oil and gas fields as well as turbines, generators, transformers, and other electrical equipment. There are more than 60 petroleum wholesalers and 30 fuel dealers across the state. Solar installation and energy efficiency activities support thousands of jobs.

In 2017, the state’s energy industry directly and indirectly supported 3.8% of the state’s employment, 4.2% of its earnings, and 5.7% of its gross domestic product (GDP) (see Figure 1). Energy activities directly provided an estimated 38,500 full- and part-time jobs, 1.9% of total jobs in the state. Earnings paid to energy workers totaled more than $1.9 billion, 1.9% of total earnings paid.[i] Average earnings in 2017 (excluding energy efficiency jobs) were $81,257 per annum, 60% higher than the statewide average for all industries. Utah’s energy industry contributed $4.9 billion to the state’s GDP, 3.0% of the total.