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United States

United States

US governors group together to push for wind energy development

US: A group of state governors has formed to press the US government to adopt a renewable energy standard (RES) and develop wind power across the country.

GWE chairman, Iowa governor Chet Culver
GWE chairman, Iowa governor Chet Culver

The group, titled the ‘Governors Wind Energy Coalition' (GWE) comprises 29 governors from across the country and is chaired by Iowa's Chet Culver. It is pushing for 20% of US electricity to be supplied from wind by 2030 and has set out a number of recommendations.

The RES bill, introduced in February last year by U.S. Senator Tom Udall, requires utilities to generate 25 percent of their electricity from wind, solar and other renewable energy sources by 2025.

It is the first time a governors have created a bi-partisan group to further the cause of wind and renewable energy.

The group is calling for a new interstate electricity grid to cater for an expected growth in both onshore and offshore wind projects. It says the current system has been developed by local companies with regional aims will be is ineffective in dealing with renewable energy on a national scale.

Additionally, the GWE warns European nations such as the UK, Denmark and Germany are building a technological lead in the development of offshore wind energy. It says the US should be leading the way in creating deep-water offshore projects.

  • According to the GWE, the benefits of hitting the 20% wind energy target include:
  • An increase of over 500,000 US jobs.
  • Cost savings "ranging from $100billion to $250billion" offsetting the estimated $40billion start-up costs.
  • Reducing electric generator carbon emissions by 25%.
  • Increase annual property tax revenues and rural landowner payments to more than $1.5billion and $600million respectively.

The US government is currently being assailed by various groups lobbying for changes to wind energy policy.

Recently a group of senators, led by New York's Chuck Schumer, have introduced a bill with the aim of ensuring renewables money made available through the economic stimulus plan will only go to US companies.

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