“We will either remain the world's largest importer of oil, or we will become the world’s largest exporter of clean energy,” stated Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to the Transmission Policy Summit.
He described the present electric grid as “inefficient, geographically fragmented and vulnerable to cyber attack, brownouts and other disruptions.”
“America's transmission grid simply isn't designed to move large amounts of power from areas of high renewable potential – such as the upper Great Plains or the southwest – to areas of highest demand... it's time for a 21st Century electric transmission grid that can deliver clean, renewable energy to American homes and businesses across the country.” The Obama Administration has embraced the GENI Initiative to link renewable energy resources.
Yet, access to large wind, solar and geothermal resources requires high-voltage transmission, and NIMBYism (not in my backyard) is one of the most difficult challenges for renewable energy developers. This becomes even more difficult when attempting to cross multiple borders and agency jurisdictions. To accelerate this process, the Dept. of Interior is now convening multiple agencies: the Council on Environmental Quality, the Office of Energy and Climate Change, the Department of Energy, the Department of Agriculture, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and others; to develop a unified, forward-looking strategy for siting, cost allocation, and coordinating the permitting for proposed transmission projects. Salazar continued, “We are also improving coordination with tribal nations, as they have some of the highest renewable and conventional resource potential in the country.”
We are most encouraged by this collaborative effort to accelerate large, clean energy projects in the United States. We would like to see this copied by all nations – and between neighboring states since renewables are blind to national borders. My request: share this initiative with the Energy and Interior Ministries in your country. Ask them to collaborate – because working together, in a cooperative spirit, is the path to sustainability.
In partnership for the planet,