Published on September 20th, 2016 | by Joshua S Hill0
Bipartisan Group Of Governors Seeks US Wind & Solar Development Expansion
September 20th, 2016 by Joshua S Hill
A group of 20 US governors has written to United States President Barack Obama seeking the expansion of the country’s wind and solar energy production.
In an open letter (PDF) written on behalf of the Governors’ Wind & Solar Energy Coalition, a bipartisan group of the United States’ governors who are committed to developing the country’s wind and solar energy resources, the authors wrote to suggest actions that President Obama’s Administration can take to expedite and expand the wind and solar energy production of the respective governors’ states.
“…we agree that wind and solar energy development address many of our states’ and the nation’s important needs such as job creation, economic development, reliable and low cost energy, and cost-effective emission reductions. We also agree that one of the best ways to meet the nation’s energy needs is to expand domestic wind and solar energy production and harvest their economic and environmental benefits”
Among the specific recommendations put forward by the Coalition was the desire to “Expedite the Deployment of Offshore Wind,” a timely reminder that the United States’ current offshore wind industry is still in its infancy — a fact proven by the complete lack of existing offshore wind projects in operation in US waters. Thankfully, this is beginning to change, slowly, with the construction of the country’s first offshore wind farm, the 30 MW Block Island Wind Farm being developed off the coast of Rhode Island, which is currently underway.
“Offshore wind is an abundant source of renewable energy located near some of our nation’s largest cities and areas of electricity demand, but the nation still has only one project under construction off the coast of Rhode Island that recently completed construction and will be placed in service later this year,” the authors explained. “Europe currently has 11 GW of offshore wind installed. A new U.S. offshore wind sector could create thousands of jobs in businesses ranging from R&D and engineering to manufacturing and marine construction.”
In addition to an effort to improve the country’s offshore wind industry, the Coalition sought an improvement in permitting collaboration efforts.
“It is very difficult to permit wind and solar projects on public lands, as evidenced by the fact that more than 98% of the currently installed wind energy capacity is on private land,” the Coalition writes, before putting forward a series of suggestions that the current Administration can do to address the uncertainty and delays in wind permitting.
The Open Letter has been warmly welcomed by the United States renewable energy industry. American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) CEO Tom Kiernan thanked the Coalition, saying, “Wind farms are some of the greatest infrastructure projects this country has ever built, but there’s a lot more to be done if wind energy is to meet its promise. These governors are leading. They’re attuned to economic development needs and deployment challenges in their states, and they’re looking to the federal agencies to help rather than hinder.”
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