In late February, a bipartisan group of 17 governors signed the "Governors' Accord for a New Energy Future," a joint commitment to take action to promote clean energy, clean transportation choices, a modern electrical grid, and a plan for a new energy future.
The Accord provides participating governors (representing California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington), whose states are home to 127 million Americans, with a platform through which their states will collaborate, learn from each other, and leverage partnerships in energy planning and policymaking.
"Embracing new energy solutions allows us to expand our economy, while protecting the health of our communities and natural resources," say the governors in a joint statement. "We recognize that now is the time to embrace a bold vision of the nation's energy future, and, to do so, states are once again poised to lead."
In signing the Accord, the participating governors committed that their states will continue to diversify energy generation and expand clean energy solutions, modernize energy infrastructure and encourage clean transportation options.
"Expanding energy efficiency and renewable energy in a cost-effective way strengthens our states' economic productivity, reduces air pollution, and avoids energy waste," the Accord states. "Integrating more of these clean energy sources into our electricity grids can also improve the flexibility and stability of these grids. Promoting energy savings through efficiency and conservation programs is the fastest, most reliable, and often cheapest way to meet our energy needs."
The Accord went on to note that technologies that capture solar, wind, hydroelectric and geothermal power have become viable and cost-effective to integrating into states' energy portfolios.
"Amidst decreasing costs of renewable energy, and rapid advances in efficiency throughout entire energy systems, our states will diversify our energy portfolios for economic, health and environmental benefits," the Accord states.
In terms of clean transportation options, the Accord noted that hundreds of thousands of electric vehicles, and tens of millions of vehicles using alternative fuels, are driving on American roads.
"Supporting automakers' and fueling companies' market expansion for these new vehicles and fuels expands consumer choice, lessens dependence on petroleum, and reduces pollution," the Accord states. "By supporting needed infrastructure development, incentives and policies when appropriate, our states will encourage expanded use of these new technologies."
The Accord also addresses the need for training to get workers up to speed on the new energy technologies.
"Given the complexity of state-wide energy systems and the scale of modernizing these systems, many states have developed energy plans and strategies to implement energy improvements," the Accord states. "These approaches have incorporated best practices and lessons learned from new technologies, other states' energy policies, consumer programs, and workforce training efforts. Our states will support each other in developing, refining and implementing these plans through sharing expertise among our policy experts."
As noted, the governors plan to work together on these initiatives.
"Many actions taking place in one state can be adapted to meet the needs of other states and scaled across regions," the Accord states. "Examples include streamlining siting of environmentally-desirable infrastructure, setting renewable and energy efficiency standards, adopting incentives for clean vehicles and fuels, and diversifying energy portfolios to integrate peak shaving, efficiency, and renewable energy into a state's energy mix."