NAM President John Engler* and Energy Secretary Steven Chu are joined by Chairman Jon Wellinghoff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on a panel discussion Saturday at the National Governors’ Association winter meeting next door from NAM HQ. From the NGA news release, “Governors to Discuss Energy Technology and Infrastructure at Winter Meeting“:
WASHINGTON—The nation’s governors will identify strategies that promote dependable, affordable and environmentally sustainable energy during the upcoming National Governors Association (NGA) Winter Meeting, scheduled for February 20-22 in Washington, D.C.
The discussion, titled “Advancing a Green Energy Economy,” will occur during the Natural Resources committee meeting on Saturday, February 20, at 2:30 p.m. at the JW Marriott Hotel. The session will offer governors the opportunity to share their perspectives and hear from professionals in the field.
“It is important to gather together to have the barriers to transmission siting identified and addressed and brainstorm solutions,” said Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, chair of the committee. “Hearing options to improve transmission planning, siting and financing with a focus on connecting renewable energy sources to the grid can help governors plan for the future.”
Interstate transmission lines don’t distinguish between the sources of the power, do they? Wind, coal, nuclear — it’s all electrons, right? (Acknowledging that wind turbines must be more geographically dispersed than a single nuclear or coal-fired plant.)
In his first term, Gov. Schweitzer (D-MT) gained national attention as an advocate of coal-to-liquids development. In February 2006, CBS’ “60 Minutes” profiled him as “Montana’s Coal Cowboy.”
More recently, the governor has elevated the expansion of wind energy and transmission capacity to be one of the hallmarks of his administration, and Montana’s potential is great. In October, the governor joined officials with NaturEner company to dedicate the second phase of the Glacier Wind Farm. Phase 2 is a total of 103.5 megawatts, combined with Phase I for a total of 210 megawatts. (In comparison, the Coal Creek lignite power station in North Dakota generates 1,100 megawatts.)
Montana is also home to the transmission project, the Montana Alberta Tie Line, which connects power generation in Montana to the Alberta markets. (See Jan. 17, 2010, Great Falls Tribune story.)
*As governor of Michigan, Engler served as NGA Chairman from 2001-2002.
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