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United States

US governors set out renewables bid to Trump

UNITED STATES: A bi-partisan group of US governors has written to the new US president, setting out the case for renewable energy, calling for modernisation of the grid and supporting further offshore development.

GWSEC want to extend support for offshore wind beyond 2020
GWSEC want to extend support for offshore wind beyond 2020

The Governors' Wind and Solar Energy Coalition (GWSEC) has written to renewables opponent Donald Trump arguing the technologies' importance and potential in the US.

GWSEC is chaired by Gina Raimondo, governor of Rhode Island, the home state of the US' first offshore wind project, Deepwater Wind's 30MW Block Island site.

"US wind facilities pay rural landowners $222 million a year, with more than $156 million going to landowners in areas with below-average incomes. In addition, $100 billion has been invested by companies in low-income counties, where some 70% of the nation's wind farms are located," the governors wrote in the letter.

"Members of the coalition have seen the benefits of renewable energy first hand, and agree that expanding renewable energy production is one of the best ways to meet the country's growing demand for energy.

"Today's wind and solar resources offer consumers nearly unlimited electric energy with no fuel costs, no national security impacts, and a number of environmental benefits. The boons of renewable energy can be virtually endless with your administration's and Congress' support of the key initiatives detailed here," it continued.

The letter calls on the Trump administration should increase funding for grid modernisation and create a task force to look at ways of streamlining federal regulatory process for system upgrades.

In January, a report by the Department of Energy, prior to Trump's inauguration, said a small amount of transmission capacity was required to avoid high levels of curtailment.

The coalition also called on Congress and Trump to support a long-term extension of a 30% investment tax credit (ITC) to support offshore wind.

Currently the ITC, similarly to the production tax credit, is being phased out by the end of the decade, which the coalition said would mean no further offshore wind projects will benefit from the support.

In its letter, GWSEC pointed to some legislation currently in the US senate aimed at extending the ITC and ensuring the next 3GW of offshore wind will benefit from ITC support.

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