Monday, February 25, 2008

National Governors Address Clean Energy & State Roles

Feb 23: The National Governors Association (NGA) Winter Meeting officially kicked off with a governor-led opening plenary discussion highlighting the recent successes and planned actions of NGA Chair Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty's Securing a Clean Energy Future Initiative (SCEF Initiative). During the session, governors held a discussion about the role states can play in shaping America's energy future, heard from two notable clean energy advocates, released a new SCEF Initiative publication and unveiled the formation of a clean energy public-private partnership between NGA and Wal-Mart.

Governor Pawlenty said, "For the better part of the past century, our nation has enjoyed an energy system that's been relatively inexpensive and easy to use. But our continued reliance on this system makes us vulnerable to unstable and sometimes hostile countries that control vast amounts of the world's energy resources and has created environmental concerns. Governors and states are stepping forward to lead an energy revolution that will 'Americanize' our energy production in order to improve our national security, our economic well-being and our quality of life."

The governors announced a partnership between NGA and Wal-Mart designed to provide governors an opportunity to reduce the overall energy consumption of their state capitol complexes by having a team of Wal-Mart energy experts conduct a clean energy audit of the facility. Under the "Greening the Capitols" partnership Wal-Mart will send experts to as many as 20 state capitol complexes throughout 2008 and 2009 with the goal of identifying energy efficiency improvements that will provide a return on investment within five years. In addition, the Wal-Mart team will demonstrate the anticipated cost savings and carbon dioxide reductions each state could experience by implementing the recommended improvements. The NGA Center for Best Practices will help identify states for participation and catalog the successes each state experiences.

NGA also officially released a new report from the SCEF Initiative, Greener Fuels, Greener Vehicles: A State Resource Guide. The new report provides an overview of the economic and environmental implications of an oil-dependent transportation sector and looks at state policy tools that can encourage greener transportation such as financial incentives, rules and mandates, purchasing power and research and demonstration projects. In addition, the report describes the core barriers preventing wider consumption of alternative fuels and production of alternative vehicles, as well as examples of promising state policies designed to overcome these specific barriers. Gov. Pawlenty also shared with his colleagues the recently released SCEF Initiative publication, A Call to Action, a report declaring America's current energy path unacceptable because of escalating economic risk and serious environmental consequences. The report compels the nation's governors to act now to solve America's energy challenges.

Access a release from NGA with links to the above referenced documents (
click here). Access the NGA Clean Energy website for additional information (click here). [*Energy]