Support for Renewable Energy in Western U.S.
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by Kevin Maddaford on 06/23/2009
The Obama Administration has announced plans to develop western states’ clean energy potential.
The Western Governors' Association (WGA) held its annual meeting in Park City, Utah, where officials from the Obama Administration signaled strong support for developing the region's renewable energy potential. Initiatives ranging from improving transmission systems to protecting wildlife habitats are aimed at maximizing the benefits of the West's renewable energy resources on the national electrical system as well as local economies.
Federal agencies, including the Departments of Energy and the Interior, will work with state and local agencies to implement the initiatives. "We will create jobs, promote our energy independence, and cut our carbon emissions by unlocking the enormous potential for renewable energy in the Western United States," said Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy.
The Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it will provide $80 million to improve high-voltage transmission capabilities, regional grid interconnections, and transmission and demand analysis; $50 million to assist state and public utility commissions; and $39.5 million for emergency preparedness improvements related to electricity reliability. The DOE also released a report prepared in collaboration with the WGA analyzing the potential of Renewable Energy Zones in the West.
The Department of Agriculture also announced funds that will be used to develop biomass energy projects. $49 million of grants will be used towards developing wood-to-energy projects, and $8 million for biomass utilization. The 30 projects that will receive these funds were nominated by the U.S. Forest Service.
The Secretaries of Energy, Agriculture and the Interior also pledged to work with the WGA to minimize the impact of new renewable energy projects and transmission lines on wildlife by improving the mapping of wildlife habitats and migration corridors.
According to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, "President Obama has been very clear about his intent to address our country's long-term energy challenges, and this multi-department approach will help increase production of energy from renewable sources and generate new, green jobs in the process."
You can find more details about the initiatives at the Department of Energy website.
It's great to see such a strong commitment from both federal and state agencies to developing renewable energy. The West not only has a lot of potential, but also a large population whose energy needs must be met. These collaborative efforts will help to ensure that those needs are met with clean, renewable resources. I think this effort should serve as an example for other regions of how to maximize their resources. ~Kevin
Kevin Maddaford is the Consumer Services Manager and Resource Development Associate for Renewable Choice Energy.