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AWEA Praises Bill Introduced by Senator Reid to Designate National Renewable Energy Zones

Sep 21, 2007 - Wind Energy Weekly

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) introduced September 20 a bill to establish “National Renewable Energy Zones” to improve the development and transmission of renewable energy. AWEA praised Sen. Reid for proposing this legislation and released the following statement:

“The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is pleased that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) today introduced the Clean Energy and Economic Development Act, a bill that calls on the President to designate geographical areas as National Renewable Energy Zones. This bill would help move America toward a more secure, more climate-friendly energy policy.

“Our nation’s citizens overwhelmingly support increasing the generation of electricity from renewable sources like wind, biomass and solar power. National Renewable Energy Zones would tap America’s world-class renewable resources that currently are not being used due to transmission constraints and the lack of a cohesive national approach to accessing them. The proposed legislation includes provisions to use the existing transmission system more efficiently and to use the federal Power Marketing Administrations, which are well positioned to advance the national objective of developing renewable energy, given their capabilities and geographic locations.

“Wind power, currently the most competitive renewable energy option, is a readily available, cost-effective option that can provide large amounts of new electricity without emitting greenhouse gases. By bolstering the nation’s aging transmission infrastructure, National Renewable Energy Zones would not only integrate more low-cost renewable resources but increase grid reliability and expand resource choices for utilities and consumers.”

National Renewable Energy Zone designation would provide for areas with significant renewable energy resources to be connected to the transmission grid through transmission lines to be paid for by all utility consumers. This approach, which has been pioneered in Texas under the name Competitive Renewable Energy Zone, would solve the "chicken-or-the-egg" transmission dilemma: renewable energy developers are reluctant to build projects in areas that have renewable resources but lack transmission, while transmission developers do not want to build lines to such areas without any generation facilities present. TOP