17 Governors to Advance Clean Energy, Transportation

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By Carolyn Whetzel

Feb. 16 — A bipartisan group of 17 governors signed a pact Feb. 16 agreeing to work together to build modern, sophisticated transmission grids and to advance clean energy and transportation technologies.

Called the Governors Accord for New Energy, the agreement includes commitments to diversify energy generation and expand clean energy sources; modernize energy infrastructure; encourage clean transportation options; plan energy transition; collaborate for transformational policy changes; and secure a stronger national energy future.

“There are a lot of reasons to be excited about this,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said during a conference call with reporters. “Real progress begins in the states.” Inslee said the group anticipates other governors will sign the accord.

Joining Inslee in signing the accord are the governors of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.

“You can't diminish the importance of a bipartisan group of governors working together on clean energy,” Inslee said. Key to the accord are learning from each other, moving forward and inspiring others, he said.

The three-page accord makes no mention of climate change, a reference that Inslee and Govs. Jerry Brown (D-Calif.) and Brian Sandoval (R-Nev.), the only other governors on the call, said was intentionally left out of the agreement.

Climate change is not part of the agreement because “we think can make progress” without getting bogged down in the bickering that comes with the topic, Brown said.

“We’re on board for something very important and productive, and we don’t have to wait for Washington,” Brown said.

Each of the three governors outlined his state's significant accomplishments in developing renewable energy resources and attracting clean energy businesses, but they stressed the crucial need of modern, smart transmission grids and battery storage technologies.

Energy must be stored when it is not needed and grids have to be integrated and sophisticated, according to Brown.

By working together, the states can lobby the federal government for more money for research and development for battery storage, he said.

“We're excited for California and Nevada to be working together on these issues,” Sandoval said. Nevada is a great exporter of electricity and wants to continue construction of its new transmission system, he said.

In written statements, other governors called the accord a “tremendous opportunity” to build an affordable and resilient energy future.

To contact the reporter on this story: Carolyn Whetzel in Los Angeles at cwhetzel@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at lpearl@bna.com

For More Information

A copy of the Governors Accord for New Energy is available at http://src.bna.com/cFr.