More than half of the state governors urged the federal government to adopt a nationwide renewable energy standard to replace the patchwork of state legislation and foster growth of wind and other alternative energy resources.
“This standard is necessary to support immediate economic stabilization and growth while also providing essential long-term requirements to guide the industry’s growth,” the Governors Wind Energy Coalition said in a report sent to Congress and to the White House.
The 29 governors belonging to the coalition went on to say: “The lack of a long-term renewable energy requirement in the United States is resulting in the loss of wind manufacturing investments in our states to Europe and other areas where mandatory renewable energy requirements and a longer-term view of energy policy have been adopted.”
The action by the governors from both parties seemed designed to prompt the administration and Congress to immediate action, instead of waiting on a comprehensive energy bill that would include a cap-and-trade program or carbon tax to limit emissions.
“Congressional action on the energy bill seems to have stalled,” said Rhode Island Gov. Donald Carcieri, vice chairman of the group. “It is our hope that these recommendations — and the national bipartisan consensus they represent — will advance the energy deliberations now under way in Congress.”
Other recommendations in the report included:
• New interstate transmission lines and other infrastructure to bring renewable energy solar and wind energy sites in remote areas to population centers in the Midwestern and Eastern states.
• More support for coastal, deep water, and offshore wind technology and transmission research and development at the Department of Energy.
• Streamlining the permitting process for wind farms both on and offshore.
• Extending the Treasury Department’s grant program, which offers cash up front, in lieu of the investment tax credit, as well as a renewable energy production tax credit.
While the coalition includes top wind energy producers such as Iowa, Florida and California, there were notable absences in the group. Texas, by far the biggest wind energy producer in the country, is not represented, nor are other Midwestern states with wind energy potential, such as Nebraska and Missouri.
By. Darrell Delamaide