Axios Salt Lake City

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Good morning! It's Tuesday. Hopefully, you didn't stare directly at the sun yesterday, and you can read our newsletter today.

  • Today's weather: 🌞 Sunny, with a high near 58.

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Today's newsletter is 706 words — a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: Utah's solar power production soars

Data: Climate Central; Note: Includes both utility-scale and small-scale solar generation; Chart: Axios Visuals

Utah's solar power production has grown exponentially since 2014, despite efforts to keep the state's coal plants open.

Why it matters: Solar and wind power are producing a comparatively small but growing share of America's overall energy supply — yet they make up a bigger slice of the energy pie in some states.

By the numbers: Utah generated 4,823 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity from solar power and 684 GWh from wind power in 2023, per the analysis from Climate Central, a climate research nonprofit. That's enough to power more than half a million homes.

  • Just 39 GWh of electricity was produced from solar energy in 2014.
  • Meanwhile, wind power production in Utah, which lacks sustained high-wind areas, has remained steady since 2014.

State of play: Gov. Spencer Cox signed a contested bill last month to prevent a coal plant near Delta from closing amid pushback from environmental groups.

The big picture: Solar installations generated nearly 240,000 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity across the U.S. in 2023, per Climate Central, Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick reports.

  • That's eight times higher than 2014 production, the group says.
  • Wind generation hit about 425,000 GWh last year — double that of a decade ago.

Context: "Together, these two renewable energy sources generated enough electricity in 2023 to power the equivalent of more than 61 million average American homes," per Climate Central.

Zoom out: California, Florida and Texas are leading the country in solar power generation, while Iowa, Oklahoma and Texas are the leaders in wind energy.

💬 Alex's thought bubble: Geography plays a role here — obviously, solar and wind power make more sense in sunnier and breezier regions — as do state policies and incentives.

Reality check: Wind and solar projects haven't been without their issues.

  • Higher interest rates, inflation and supply chain issues are spoiling the financial math of some alt-energy investments, leading to headline-grabbing cancellations.

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2. 😎 The 2045 solar eclipse will be total

Data: EclipseSimulator via in-the-sky.org; Map: Will Chase/Axios

If you missed yesterday's eclipse, you'll have to wait at least 20 years for your next chance to see one in Utah.

Yes, but: SLC will be right on the edge of the zone of totality, so the experience will be way more intense.

Meanwhile, enjoy these memories of Monday's partial show!

About a dozen people gathered around a telescope in a park look at the sky with eclipse glasses on their faces
Eclipse viewers at Pioneer Park. Photo: Erin Alberty/Axios
People look at the sky through binoculars in front of a cafe.
Guests peek through binoculars at Westminster College. Photo courtesy of Westminster

3. Fry Sauce: Devour these headlines

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

🏥 Highland Ridge Hospital is closing three years after state regulators began documenting serious violations at the psychiatric hospital, including unchanged dressings on wounds and unreported sexual assault allegations. (Salt Lake Tribune)

🏒 Have an idea for a Salt Lake NHL team name? Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith is spearheading the effort to recruit a team and is soliciting suggestions via an online form. (Ryan Smith, via X)

💥 Hill Air Force Base is planning a series of "large detonations" in the west desert as personnel destroy old or obsolete rocket motors for the U.S. Department of Defense. (FOX 13)

  • Vibrations may be felt along the Wasatch Front as detonations continue once or twice each week through September.

🎖️A Millcreek therapist and rock climber will receive the prestigious Carnegie Medal for heroism she displayed in 2022, when she negotiated a previously unclimbed route in Kane County to rescue a BASE jumper whose parachute failed. (KUTV)

  • The man was unconscious and dangling from his parachute about 70 feet above the ground.

4. 😋 98K delivers golden goodness

98K Fried Chicken and Sandwich's fried chicken combo meal. Photo: Kim Bojórquez/Axios

An Asian fusion fried chicken joint has arrived in Salt Lake's Chinatown market.

State of play: The East Coast chain 98K Fried Chicken and Sandwich (3370 S State St. #1, South Salt Lake) opened in February, serving crispy and grilled chicken, burgers, Cantonese desserts and more.

The big picture: It's the latest Asian-inspired eatery to come to Utah's capital over the past two years, joining the likes of 85°C Bakery Cafe, Xing Fu Tang and Beard Papa.

restaurant lobby.
98K Fried Chicken and Sandwich lobby. Photo: Kim Bojórquez/Axios

My thought bubble: 98K's made-to-order fried chicken was crunchy and delightful and I look forward to trying their Mexican-style chicken wrap next time.

  • Plus: My three-piece combo meal ($9.98) came with plastic gloves to prevent greasy fingertips.

Stop by: Mondays through Thursdays 11am to 9:30pm; Fridays through Sundays 11am to 10pm.

🤓 Kim watched the solar eclipse from Blue Copper 2000's patio.

🐱 Erin is building another catio.

This newsletter was edited by Ross Terrell and copy edited by Natasha Danielle Smith and Yasmeen Altaji.