Western governors promised to take a number of steps to bring online substantially more clean and diversified energy resources, improve energy efficiency and ensure there is adequate transmission available at a reasonable cost, at their annual meeting in Sedona, Ariz., in mid-June.
The Western Governors' Association (WGA) also said the country could help reduce its reliance on unstable foreign oil supplies by supporting additional research and development of cleaner, alternative transportation fuels. Additionally, they called for a full and vigorous discussion regarding the reduction and mitigation of greenhouse gases, adaptation policies and other global climate change measures.
The governors backed a broad-based set of proposals for meeting future electricity needs. The policy resolution is based on the recommendations developed over the past 18 months by more than 250 stakeholders, whose work is outlined in the WGA report, ‘Clean Energy, a Strong Economy and a Healthy Environment.’
The goals, which the group found could be met or exceeded, are to develop an additional 30,000 MW of clean energy by 2015; increase energy efficiency 20% by 2020; and ensure secure, reliable transmission for the next 25 years.
The Governors urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to build a partnership with Western states to make more efficient use of the existing electric transmission grid, expand the grid to enable the region to tap remote, diverse generation, and work closely with the Western Interconnection Regional Advisory Board to ensure grid reliability. Gov. Mike Rounds of South Dakota said governors will consider measures most appropriate for their states by encouraging regulators, policy makers, utilities, transmission operators and other stakeholders to eliminate barriers to greater utilization of clean energy resources.
‘There is much we can do within our states, but federal action also is needed to reach our mutual goals for secure, reliable energy within our region and across the country,’ Rounds said. ‘Western governors will work with Congress and the Bush Administration to see these recommendations are implemented.’
The governors identified several federal policies and legislation where action is needed:
*provide for a long-term (10-year) extension of the production tax credit for all renewable energy technologies, with complementary policies for consumer-owned utilities and tribes;
*provide tax credits for energy efficiency investments;
*raise the cap on the residential investment tax credit to $10,000 for renewable energy or distributed generation systems;
*expand economic opportunities through the production and distribution of domestic renewable fuels to all regions of the West.
Govs. Richardson, Schwarzenegger and Napolitano also offered a policy resolution on regional and national policies regarding global climate change. The governors stated their support for local, state, regional and national programs to reduce anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions in a manner that is consistent with scientific research and will not significantly harm the U.S. economy.