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Mar 162010

From Green Right Now Reports

Image: Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

Image: Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

While there is no shortage of hot air swirling around various plans to harness wind energy to power our homes and businesses, a group of United States governors has hammered out a plan and is ready to take it all the way to the top.

On Tuesday, Iowa Governor Chet Culver and Rhode Island Governor Donald L. Carcieri released Great Expectations: U.S. Wind Energy Development, the Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition’s 2010 Recommendations. Culver and Carcieri are the chair and vice chair of the 29-state organization, which is attempting to shape a national policy to make wind power both viable and cost-effective.

The group formed over a year ago and began work on recommendations in December. The next step: Lobbying efforts to get a bill into Congress and on to President Barack Obama’s desk as soon as possible.

“We need all the clean and cost-effective resources we can generate. And we will only get there if we work together,” Culver said during a press conference called in conjunction with the report’s release. “Continued uncertainty will potentially cause the nation to surrender the industry to other countries. If China gets the job of supplying the U.S. wind industry, (jobs) could be lost forever.

“The good news is that we have increased wind generation dramatically over the past few years, but continued growth hinges on a more stable market. Given the immense advantages wind power provides to industry, consumers and the environment, it is clear that Congress must pass a strong federal renewable electricity policy so investors, developers and state policy makers are working together to achieve a common goal.”

Among the recommendations in the report:

  • Adopt a renewable electricity standard (Known as  a RES, it sets benchmarks for the nation to reach a certain level of clean energy production by specific dates. Many believe that having a strong RES is the only way that clean energy technology can promise lenders and investors a measure of security, to show that the industry will not be buffeted by politics in the coming years.)
  • Develop new interstate electric transmission system infrastructure as needed to provide access to premier renewable energy resources both on-shore and offshore
  • Fully support coastal, deep water, and offshore wind energy technology and transmission research and development
  • Streamline permitting processes for both offshore and on-shore wind energy development projects
  • Expand the U.S. Department of Energy’s work with the states and the wind industry to accelerate innovation
  • Extend the Treasury Department Grant Program in lieu of the Investment Tax Credit — providing immediate capital, and adopt a long-term renewable energy production tax credit with provisions to broaden the pool of eligible investors

“These recommendations could not be more timely,” Carcieri said. “Congressional action on the energy bill seems to have stalled. It is our hope that these recommendations — and the national bipartisan consensus they represent — will advance the energy deliberations now under way in Congress.”