Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota (R) and Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico (D) have joined forces to promote a “Governors Windpower Coalition” to increase the use of wind energy across the United States.
The objectives of the coalition include interstate collaboration (on issues like transmission), exchanging information on policy and technology, commissioning research on wind power policy issues, and identifying recommendations for federal and regional policies. It will not receive any funding from industry sources.
Governor Pawlenty explained why he and Richardson decided to collaborate:
“America is at a tipping point. Our country is too dependent on imported sources of energy and greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow too quickly. Governors and states have a tremendous opportunity to lead the country towards a cleaner, more independent, more secure energy future.”
The nonprofit community is excited about the collaboration as well. Beth Soholt, executive director of the Midwest organization Wind on the Wires, said: “We are ready to roll up our sleeves and actively work with the Governors Windpower Coalition to achieve our mutual wind power goals.”
Pawlenty and Richardson are reaching out to other governors and are hoping to bring together states with large renewable energy sources and states with large demands for energy. They’ve issued a joint letter asking more governors to join their cause and they summarize the anticipated topics they may tackle:
- Policies to encourage wind turbine manufacturing in the U.S.
- Facilitating grid access
- State, regional, and federal regulations to expand wind power markets
- Advanced technology approaches for integrating large amounts of wind power onto the grid (such as storage issues)
Minnesota has the fourth-largest wind power capacity in the U.S. and is fifth-largest in the retail sales of wind. New Mexico is the highest per-capita wind power user the nation.