Eastern Utah Among Areas Targeted by DOE’s Clean Energy Projects
By Kristin Forbis, Apr 30, 2021
The U.S. Department of Energy announced Thursday that they have awarded $19 million dollars for 13 projects aimed at assisting clean energy projects. Eastern Utah and its “Uinta Basin earth resources” is the focus of one of the 13 projects that, according to energy.gov, will “support production of rare earth elements and critical minerals vital to the manufacturing of batteries, magnets, and other components important to the clean energy economy.” This announcement follows recommendations made last week by the White House Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization. There are still plenty of questions about the projects but one Utah Senator has shared a positive perspective. “China’s near monopoly over rare earth metals makes the rest of the world dependent on them,” shares Senator Mitt Romney. “With this funding, Utah will continue to play a vital role in United States’ production of rare earth metals and critical minerals, which will help rebuild our supply chain and decrease our dependence on China. Importantly, these projects will also create new jobs and spur economic growth for communities in the Uintah Basin.” The project description states that the University of Utah will “quantify, assess, and plan to enable the transformation of Uinta Basin earth resources such as coal, oil shale, resin, rare earth elements and critical materials into high value metal, mineral and carbon-based products that can be used in advanced products such as carbon fiber composites in aircraft and high powered magnets and batteries in electric vehicles.” The Department of Energy awarded $1.5 million dollars toward the project.