USU professors help kick start a new industry in Utah
Two USU Jon M. Huntsman School of Business professors
played a key role in the launching of a wind power plant
at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon in 2008.
Their research shows that the construction alone generated
more than $4 million in economic output to the state
of Utah. The project supported 38 jobs with a total
payroll of almost $1.4 million.
"Wind power can create attractive economic opportunities
for a local community in terms of new jobs, lease payments
to landowners and new property tax revenues," said Cathy
Hartman, marketing professor and one of the co-authors
of the study.
In 2009, the wind power plant is expected to generate
more than $74,000 in land lease payments to Spanish
Fork landowners. It will also generate more than $112,000
in local property taxes for Utah County, of which approximately
$84,000 will support the Nebo School District, the study
The report, "Generating Economic Development
from a Wind Power Project in Spanish Fork Canyon, Utah:
A Case Study and Analysis of State-Level Economic Impacts,"
is available from the U.S. Department of Energy Web
The economic impacts were estimated using the Job
and Economic Development Impact (JEDI) model developed
by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable
Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo. Sandra Reategui,
a USU graduate, and Edwin Stafford, Huntsman marketing
professor, were co-authors of the study.
"The developers faced obstacles at every turn and
had to break new ground on many fronts," said Stafford.
"The report includes a case history of the four-year
struggle to establish the project, a process that required
backers to adapt to changing municipal, state and federal
It includes a description of the sitting issues encountered,
how a power purchase agreement with Rocky Mountain Power
was negotiated and how developers addressed objections
raised by some local residents.
"Wind developers in Utah need to be persistent, flexible
and responsive to community concerns," Stafford said.
"Energy policy also needs to be consistent to expedite
wind development as well."
Spanish Fork has paved the way for more wind power
development throughout the state, according to Hartman.
"This will bring both economic and environmental benefits
and foster a rural renaissance across the state," she
The Spanish Fork wind project is owned and operated
by Edison Mission Energy based in California, but Stafford
and Hartman said some people often refer to it as "their
"We were so excited," Hartman said. "We feel like
we are a part of it and the broader renewable energy
movement in the state."
Others have recognized their role too. When it was
dedicated, Hartman and Stafford were guest speakers
at the opening celebration. They are also sought out
on a weekly basis by reporters who are interested in
what they have to say about green marketing and wind
"Our expertise is in the marketing of clean technology,"
Stafford said. "What we have here is a case study
that Cathy and I have witnessed over the last four years
of all the policy barriers, and the market barriers
and the cultural misperceptions that had to be overcome
to get this project off the ground. In many respects,
Cathy and I feel honored that we helped kick start a
whole new industry in the state."