THE 10-YEAR REGIONAL ENERGY INITIATIVE
The West plays an indispensable role in meeting our nation's energy needs. Awash in conventional and renewable resources, it is our country's energy breadbasket. All that energy represents good news for the West and its citizens. The broad array of resources also presents a challenge: Can Western states create a comprehensive approach to energy development that delivers energy in a way that's secure, affordable and respectful of the environment?
10-Year Energy Vision: Goals and Objectives
The 10-Year Energy Vision is a set of regional goals and objectives the Governors have agreed should guide energy development, use and policy in the West. This report is meant to be a guide and is not intended to supercede individual state energy plans. It demonstrates bipartisan cooperation on energy and environmental issues that can serve as a useful basis for state and national energy plans.
The State of Energy in the West
Western energy resources are vast and diverse. To inform the development and implementation of the 10-Year Energy Vision, The State of Energy in the West provides a factual account of energy resources and issues in the West. The central feature is a thorough overview of energy resource reserves and extraction, the infrastructure used to transport electricity and energy commodities, and the utilization of energy resources and technologies in the region. Several chapters also explore topics including environmental impact, energy security and the economic contribution of energy in the West. The report concludes with a discussion of the importance of energy literacy and the potential of several promising technologies currently on the horizon.
Energy Perspectives: Western Governors and Premiers highlight their energy priorities
Energy Perspectives features essays authored by individual Western Governors and Canadian Premiers on different topics on energy. The essays provide insights from the Governors and Premiers gained from their experience working to serve the priorities of their respective constituents. The topics range from the importance of coal as a fuel and driver of economic growth for the state of Wyoming to the urgent need for greenhouse gas mitigation and climate change policy for the state of California.
PAST ENERGY INITIATIVES AND PROJECTS
Since 2000, Western Governors have worked with industry and other stakeholders to ensure that business and consumers have the energy they need now and well into the future. Below are a series of reports commissioned by the Governors, developed in consultation with stakeholders, on energy issues important in the West. The Governors have also led substantial efforts to improve regional electric power transmission.
Nuclear Energy Workshop
In April 2011, WGA convened a workshop on Nuclear Energy in the West with experts from the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Electric Power Research Institute, national laboratories, utilities, state and local governments, and public interest groups. The participants were asked to provide perspective on how the West could best position itself to consider how nuclear energy can be part of the clean energy future the West supports.
The results of that workshop are contained in the report, The Future of Nuclear Energy: Shaping A Western Policy. The report focuses on the role for and challenges associated with nuclear energy production in the West. This includes education programs, job- and career-growth, economic expansion, environmental and public health and safety benefits, and the path toward energy independence and security.
Industrial Energy Efficiency Summit
WGA held an Industrial Energy Efficiency Summit on March 16 -17, 2011 to gather policy recommendations from a diverse group of stakeholders. Attendees included representatives from utilities, industry, the U.S. Department of Energy, and organizations that promote and implement energy efficiency projects.
During the meeting, a diverse group of panelists presented their findings on the significant cost savings that can be accrued with IEE programs, as well as existing and potential impediments to initiating such programs. Breakout sessions were held and recommendations for removing barriers to IEE projects were compiled in Industrial Energy Efficiency, a report presented to the Governors at their Annual Meeting in June 2011.
Building an Energy-Efficient Future
Western Governors have recommended policies and best practices for energy-efficient building that could dramatically reduce the demand for energy and water, while providing a boost to the region’s economy. The recommendations included in the report, Building an Energy-Efficient Future, were developed during a workshop, which included stakeholders representing building industries, utilities, public interest groups, all levels of government and energy service companies.
Participants were tasked with developing strategies that would achieve a 30 percent or greater improvement in energy efficiency over current International Energy Conservation Code standards. The report was written for governors, legislators and other public and private entities that are working to craft larger and more effective efficiency and conservation programs. The governors noted in a joint letter accompanying the report that energy efficiency and conservation represent “a vast and still underutilized” domestic energy resource.
Transportation Fuels for the Future
America's transportation is largely fueled by gasoline and diesel. To improve the region's energy security, environment and economy the Governors are working together to promote alternative fuels for transportation. The Governors' Advisory Committee on Transportation Fuels for the Future proposed strategies to accelerate the development of alternative transportation fuels. The Advisory Committee also proposes strategies for improving vehicle fuel efficiency.
Alternative fuels considered included biofuels (ethanol, biomethane/biogas, and biobutanol), bio- and renewable-diesel, electricity, coal-to-liquids, natural gas/propane and hydrogen.
Deploying Near-Zero Technologies for Coal: A Path Forward
Recommendations for deploying near-zero technologies for coal were developed by stakeholders participating in a WGA workshop in 2007. The purpose of the workshop was to determine a path to achieving full, commercial-scale deployment of near-zero emissions coal technology, including carbon capture and sequestration. A workshop summary identified a number of concepts that governmental entities could consider in developing both technical and regulatory pathways for the deployment of near-zero-emission, coal-fired power plants.
Bioenergy and biobased products through the conversion of biomass residuals from forest health projects and commercial agriculture. is another potential source of energy. Biomass is plant matter that includes trees, grasses, agricultural crops and other living plant material and residues.
By finding value in what would otherwise be waste-streams, handling and treatment costs are reduced. In the case of wildfire, reduced costs translate to a reduced threat and consequence of wildfire for communities and the environment because more fuel treatment work is possible. In the case of agriculture, increased biomass utilization reduces environmental demands, provides farmers and ranchers more options and can be a source of energy.
The WGA helped to address two significant natural resource challenges in the West – developing a clean and renewable source of energy and restoring the health of our forests. A database of projects that have were funded is located here.
Clean and Diversified Energy Initiative
Western Governors are encouraging the region to utilize its diverse resources to produce affordable, sustainable, and environmentally responsible energy. The Governors priorities are outlined in a resolution the Governors adopted in 2006, based on the recommendations of their Clean and Diversified Energy Advisory Committee. The committee’s report identified changes in state and federal policy that would be needed to achieve:
• 30,000 megawatts of new clean and diverse energy generation by 2015
• A 20 percent increase in energy efficiency by 2020, and
• Adequate transmission capacity for the region over the next 25 years.
A report tracking progress on achieving these goals was released in June 2007.