Western Governors Adopt Ambitious Renewable Energy Goals

Western governors agreed this week to a resolution calling for development of renewable energy in the region, a plan they hope will stabilize energy costs for consumers and make the region an exporter of energy — nay, the “Saudi Arabia of wind and solar energy,” according to the group’s statement. Co-sponsored by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D), the Clean and Diversified Energy Initiative establishes aggressive targets: 30,000 megawatts of clean energy produced in the West by 2015, and energy efficiency gains of 20 percent by 2020. The bipartisan resolution was passed unanimously on the third day of the annual meeting of the Western Governors Association. Officials established a working group that will study individual states’ needs for two years and make recommendations, likely to include a call for state and federal subsidies. The resolution comes at a time when the Bush administration is calling for increased oil and gas exploration in Western states.