U.S. western states got the support from key Obama Administration officials on Monday to speed up the development of a solid renewable energy system in the region, at the Western Governors Association annual meeting at Park City, Utah today.
The Federal administration will begin taking action by speeding up permits for renewable energy projects to avoid congestion in official procedures. It will also give priority to develop effective transmission networks that can deliver power from renewable sources such as solar, wind or geothermal, to regional customers. Transmissions have been a major impediment to develop clean energy technologies in the west, governors said today.
Governors have shown a commitment to addressing the critical issue of climate change and the challenges it presents to state and local governments, said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality on a statement.
Officials Steven Chu from the Department of Energy, Tom Vilsack from the Department of Agriculture and Ken Salazar from the Department of the Interior announced their support today. Also joined the Chairman from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Jon Wellinghoff .
Among the actions taken today, the DOE announced:
$80 million for the development and implementation of the next generation high voltage transmission networks.
$50 million for assistance to state electricity regulators commissions to accelerate reviews of energy projects.
$39.5 million for state and city governments to integrate smart grid technologies into the transmission network, critical infrastructure, interdependencies and cyber security.
The DOA announced $57 million to fund 30 biomass projects including wood-to-energy grants and biomass utilization.