Governors endorse renewable electricity standard

The bipartisan Governors' Wind Energy Coalition today urged Congress to enact a renewable electricity standard (RES) so that the United States can take full advantage of the nation's considerable wind energy resource.

“We offer our assistance in working with Congress and the administration to achieve one of the nation's principal energy goals, energy independence, and increasing the role that wind energy plays in meeting that challenge,” wrote the coalition's chairman, Iowa Democratic Gov. Chet Culver, and vice chairman, GOP Gov. Donald Carcieri of Rhode Island, in a letter to Congress. The group also sent a letter to President Obama.

Gov. Carceri noted that “This is the first set of comprehensive wind energy recommendations ever submitted to Congress by a group of the nation’s governors.”

The coalition includes governors from 29 states and has become an important group advocating for policies that promote wind energy. In general, states have been ahead of Congress in recognizing the value of wind energy–30 states, including the District of Columbia, have renewable standards, and many have taken additional steps to increase the use of wind energy and attract wind component manufacturers to their states.

A national RES is considered crucial to create additional demand for wind energy, and attract manufacturers. A national standard will also make it easier for the electric utility industry to meet renewable targets.

The House passed an RES last year as part of the comprehensive energy and climate bill, and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee included an RES in its energy bill.

In addition to an RES, the governors recommended development of new transmission infrastructure; full support for development of offshore wind projects; streamlined permitting for onshore and offshore wind projects; expanded cooperation between states and the Department of Energy and the wind industry to accelerate innovation; and extending the Treasury grant program while developing a long term production tax credit.

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