Governors Call for National Renewable Energy Standard

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The Governor’s Wind Energy Coalition, a bipartisan group of 29 governors, has called upon Congress to adopt a national renewable energy standard that would set a minimum requirement for the use of renewable electricity. The coalition, chaired by Iowa Gov. Chet Culver, presented a package of recommendations this week, including streamlined permitting for both onshore and offshore wind power projects and an upgraded interstate electric transmission system.

The coalition recommends a renewable electricity standard requiring the nation’s utilities to provide a minimum 10 percent of their electricity from renewable sources including wind, solar, geothermal and biopower, by 2012. Culver is backing a national renewable energy standard of 25 percent by 2025, which he predicts would create more than 300,000 green-collar jobs. In its recommendations, the coalition called for a goal of providing at least 20 percent of U.S. electricity from wind power by 2030.

The call to action by the governors comes as a comprehensive energy bill—the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (H.R. 2454), called the Waxman-Markey bill after its primary sponsors—passed by the House of Representatives last fall, remains stalled in the U.S. Senate. The bill, backed by President Obama, includes a controversial cap-and-trade system for reducing carbon emissions.

In addition to the renewable electricity standard and a new interstate transmission system, the coalition called for the U.S. Department of Energy to work with states to accelerate wind energy innovation, and an extension of the Treasury Department’s Grant Program in Lieu of the Investment Tax Credit to provide a long-term renewable energy production tax credit with provisions to broaden the pool of eligible investors.

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