Western states fired up over clean energy

When it comes to clean energy, the West is the best — or at least, it wants to be. In Deadwood, S.D., this week, 10 Western U.S. governors and two Canadian provincial premiers are meeting to talk about the region’s power prospects, including solar, wind, biomass, and “clean coal.” Reporting that the region is on track to add 30,000 megawatts or more of “clean and diversified” energy by 2015, the Western Governors’ Association took the federal government to task for withholding support. “Western states are serious about the development of domestic renewable energy,” said Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D). “Congress, as usual, is talking about it. We need action.” The guvs are hoping for help in the form of tax credits and other incentives, and one speaker called for a research investment on the scale of the atomic bomb-producing Manhattan Project. But Gristmill contributor Patrick Mazza explains why none of this progress will even matter if the nation’s power grid isn’t modernized.