When some people think of electricity, it conjures up the image of Founding Father Ben Franklin flying a kite in the rain.

In today’s world, harnessing electricity is as easy as plugging into a wall outlet in a home or apartment — and you don’t have the danger of being hurt by a lightning bolt.

But where does that power come from?

According to students in Kim Rees’ fifth-grade class at the Waterford School in Sandy, the sources vary.

“It comes from the Lake Powell generators,” student Sean Frommelt said. “(The water) turns the big generators.”

“(Turbines) go around really, really fast, which creates electricity,” 11-year old Zach Abrams explained.

Natilyn Gunnell noted that electricity comes from the sun using solar panels. Hunter Sullivan said the wind is also a source of energy generation.

Not bad for a class of 10- and 11-year-olds.


A discussion that initially started out over a battle of water rights for a few individuals on Cedar Mountain as escalated to an issue t h a t could affect all of Iron County and its taxpayers.

While the county has put a six-month land use restriction  on residents of the $39 million Cedar Highland subdivision located on Cedar Mountain, developers are worried the restriction to build is affecting property values for homes in the area. Declining values in a multimillion dollar subdivision add up quickly and translate into the county having to make up the tax revenue elsewhere. That cost could fall on all property owners in Iron County.

Iron County is taking action on what could be a multi-million dollar landslide problem, but it might have come nearly 30 years too late, said Utah Geological Survey senior scientist Bill Lund. He said the county made a decision 30 years ago, in his opinion, based on “insufficient information.”

With more than 70 homes now above Cedar City in the Cedar Highlands area, Lund said he is holding his breath to see what will happen to the stability of the land in the area.  The homes have septic tanks, which have u n d e r g r o u n d water seepage, which lubricates the plates beneath the ground, Lund explained. On top of that, roads and paths that cut into the mountain also disrupt the stability of the area. Lund, who has more than 31 years of geological experience, said all of the infrastructure being built without a study becomes a cause for concern because changes on one lot can affect another.


The state of Utah unveiled on Monday a program that will provide energy audits and cash rebates for retrofits.

Known as Utah Home Performance with Energy Star, the federally funded program will last two years. It is one of the many energy-related projects paid for by stimulus funds, said Jason Berry, Utah State Energy Program manager who oversees Utah Home Performance. The program could continue past two years and be passed on to utility companies if it proves successful, he said.

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Bryce Canyon National Park will celebrate its geology July 30-31 with a “Geology Festival.”

The Geology Festival will offer daily ranger-guided walks and talks in the canyon and on the rim, children’s activities on geology, guided bus tours through the park and illustrated programs. Click here for a list of these activities.

Known for its colorful and oddly shaped rock spires called hoodoos, the area was establish

ed as a national park in 1928. Each year more than a million visitors from all over the world come to the park to marvel at its beautiful scenery and delicate formations.

To learn more about the park’s geology and the event, go to

Paying for home improvements that increase energy efficiency just got easier for Utah residents. A new program, Utah Home Performance with ENERGY STAR, will pay cash rebates to Utah homeowners to help offset the cost of retrofits that save energy and money.

Jason Berry, Utah State Energy Program Manager oversees Utah Home Performance.  He anticipates high demand for the program which covers up to 50% or 80% of the energy-efficient home improvements.

“We expect to perform almost 2,800 comprehensive, Home Performance assessments across the state,” Berry said.

“Having a Home Performance assessment is a great opportunity for Utah residents to find out how they can make their homes more comfortable and healthier for their families. These assessments let homeowners know what improvements will provide the greatest savings.”


Utah Home Performance
Utah State Energy Program

There is still time to reserve a renewable energy rebate for residential or commercial solar thermal, residential photovoltaic or small commercial wind energy system.

The Utah Renewable Energy Rebate Program, managed by the Utah State Energy Program (USEP), can cover up to 25 percent of the cost of a professionally installed system, and may be used with other state, federal and utility incentives. “This incentive is an excellent opportunity for consumers interested in investing in renewable energy. Prices for installed systems are very reasonable by historic standards, further benefiting consumers,” said Chris Tallackson, USEP Incentives Coordinator.

Rebate reservations are processed on a first come, first served basis until funds are exhausted, so consumers should contact a Utah licensed professional installation contractor to begin the rebate reservation process.

Since launching on April 19, more than 275 applications have been approved for projects that will stimulate investment of $11 million within Utah. The projects will generate more than 1.8 million kilowatt hours of electricity. A typical household consumes 850 kilowatt hours per month.

For additional information and a rebate reservation form, visit the Renewable Energy Rebate Program or email



Renewable Energy Rebate Program
Utah State Energy Program


A recent exploratory bike ride near St. George reminded me that there are always new jaw- dropping views and intriguing adventures to discover close to home if you’re willing to spend some time studying maps and Google Earth’s virtual globe.

Looking south from popular trails near Green Valley, a massive tilted plateau can be seen rising steadily southward until breaking away to, well, I never could place what exactly lies beyond that horizon.

Maps reveal that this hulking mass does have a name-Blake’s Lambing Grounds-and what lies beyond is an impressive vertical drop of nearly 2,500 feet straight down to the floor of the winding Virgin River Gorge.

I imagined the view from this precipitous brink and plotted out a 13-mile long route of dirt roads that would lead me and my trusty two-wheeled steed there. Turns out, my imagination didn’t give the view justice.

Start the ride in Bloomington, where the western extension of Navajo Drive crosses a cattle guard and turns to dirt. Plenty of space near the flood-control pond allows you to park and unload your bike.

The colorful rocks enveloping the route, including the striped badlands of the Triassic-age Moenkopi Formation, tell a fascinating story of what southwestern Utah was like more than 200 million years ago. Instead of the majestic mountains, iconic plateaus and deep canyons seen today, southwestern Utah was a flat-as-a-pancake coastal plain positioned near the equator on the western edge of the supercontinent Pangea. Sea level would alternately rise, inundating much of Utah with shallow tropical waters, and then fall, placing the shoreline far off to the west.

From the parking area, pedal west on the main graded dirt road, ignoring numerous sidetracks, and wind across a couple of low drainages before dropping into the larger Curly Hollow.

Light-gray Moenkopi siltstone adjacent to the road was deposited by shallow mineral-laden sea water that also left behind an abundance of the mineral gypsum that gives the rock its chalky appearance.


A Utah startup says it will add sonar and laser devices along with mechanical wind meters to assess the potential for a wind farm along the Wyoming border.

Together, the devices will tell the company where on leased lands to put spinning turbines of different sizes to match wind conditions that can vary with the terrain.

It’s a nuanced approach for wind farms, said Dick Cutler, managing member of Flaming Gorge Wind LLC, a subsidiary of Salt Lake City-based RAAM Power Inc. “We’re almost becoming a wind research facility,” he said Monday.

A contractor was calibrating the sonar measuring devices Monday in Utah’s remote Daggett County, which hugs the Wyoming border.

The company says it has snapped up rights to around 50 square miles, promising royalties to ranchers for use of their lands to install wind turbines.


The Billings Gazette