Message from the Director – April 2023

We are in the midst of exciting times at the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition with several significant projects. Large infrastructure projects tend to move in fits of significant activity yet each and every day are important in moving these projects forward.

A major initiative for the Coalition is the Rural Utah Energy Ecosystem. For many years, energy production throughout Eastern Utah has been a primary focus and an economic pillar for the State. However, in recent years government policies and trends have resulted in lost jobs and industry struggles. However, there remain massive opportunities in the energy, rare earth and mineral sectors throughout rural Utah.

The United States of America needs an Earth Products Energy Ecosystem. Utah is the perfect place for such an ecosystem and now is the time. In order to maintain affordable and reliable energy and a strong economy we need to foster an environment of success in these areas.

Utah has the scientific and academic community along with the political support and workforce quotient to thrive in the development of energy resources. Our land contains the rare earth elements needed for renewable energy, hydrogen, advanced coal and carbon fiber, nuclear technology, batteries, magnetics, electric vehicle systems, electronics, and other industries. The world stands at the crossroads of advanced energy technologies and Utah’s leadership, natural resources and human ingenuity are sorely needed, not only to enhance our economy but to enable national self-reliance and security.

The proposed Energy Ecosystem will take significant effort and funding to implement. To achieve ultimate success this ecosystem needs the following:

  • Leadership and ecosystem program management
  • Funding procurement and public/private financing mechanisms
  • Advisory committees and networking opportunities
  • Marketing
  • Innovation and entrepreneurial facilitation
  • Infrastructure improvements and land acquisition specifically at the Ridge Road industrial area in Carbon County
  • Additional innovation opportunities at the San Rafael Energy Research Center (SRERC) in Orangeville, UT

Also, a quick update on the Uintah Basin Railway. The Seven County Infrastructure Coalition is the public partner in this public private partnership. In February the Coalition adopted a resolution which provides an opportunity to act as a public conduit issuer to facilitate debt for the project. This is an initial step in the funding process through the already established public-private partnership. It allows our partners project flexibility to obtain lower-cost debt as part of the ultimate funding package. The ultimate funding package, which will include both debt and equity, is in the process of finalization.

As we move forward with the funding and commercialization via our public-private partnership, we look forward to continuing our technical investigations and the design of the railway. Construction is likely to begin in 2024 based on the present timeline. Stay tuned . . .