The Western Governors’ Association ("WGA") gathered in Park City, Utah for its annual meeting, which was held on June 14-16, 2009. Attendees at the meeting included Governors Bill Ritter (Colo.); C.L. "Butch" Otter (Idaho); Brian Schweitzer (Mont.); Dave Heineman (Neb.); Bill Richardson (N.M.); Benigno Fitial, Northern Mariana Islands; Ted Kulongoski (Ore.); Mike Rounds (S.D.); Dave Freudenthal (Wyo.); and Jon Huntsman, Jr. and Lieutenant Governor Gary Herbert (Utah) , along with Canadian Premiers Ed Stelmach, Alberta; Gary Doer, Manitoba; and Brad Wall, Saskatchewan.
The morning session on Monday, June 15, 2009, was kicked off with the unveiling of the Western Renewable Energy Zones-Phase 1 Report, which was a product of a joint initiative between the WGA and the U.S. Department of Energy (the "WREZ Initiative"). The intention of the WREZ Initiative is twofold: (1) to identify Western Renewable Energy Zones in the Western Interconnection and (2) to facilitate the development of high voltage transmission to those areas with abundant high-quality renewable resources and low environmental impacts. Governor Schweitzer provided an overview of the WREZ Phase I report, which included a summary of the process for obtaining feedback from a diverse group of stakeholders to provide the analysis and tools for constructing a plan to facilitate the construction of new, utility scale renewable energy facilities and any needed transmission to deliver that energy across the Western Interconnection. The WREZ Initiative has developed a modeling tool for evaluating the relative economic attractiveness of costs of delivered renewable energy, including transmission costs, from specific renewable resource areas delivered to specific load centers. Continue Reading Strategies for Tapping the West’s Renewable Energy Potential