The Governors' Wind and Solar Energy Coalition (GWSC), representing 20 U.S. state governors, both Democratic and Republican, sent a letter to President Trump presenting the benefits of renewable energy, arguing for a Federal commitment to support renewable energy and grid modernization, analytics and simulation and to streamline regulation of the grid.
The letter outlines how renewable energy is providing jobs and investment to low-income U.S. counties. For example, U.S. wind facilities pay rural landowners $222 million a year, with most of it going to landowners in areas with below-average incomes. $100 billion has been invested by companies in low-income counties, where some 70 percent of the nation’s wind farms are located. Wind energy currently generates five percent of U.S. power demand. Last year, the country’s solar industry employed over 200,000 and added 31,000 new jobs. Most of the installations are in rural areas and have provided landowners another income option.
Furthemore, the letter argues that any national infrastructure legislation introduced in Congress should provide significant funding for grid modernization. The complexity of the U.S. aging, multi-state grid makes the need for sophisticated modeling and analysis critically important. The GWSC asks the President to create a new state-federal task force, in conjunction with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the National Laboratories, to examine options to modernize and streamline state and federal regulatory processes.
The GWSC suggests that if the United States does not continue robust federal research and development programs in wind and solar energy, China will assume leadership and see most of the economic benefits in these critical technologies. The Governors make the case that the growth of the renewable energy industry is an American success story built on federal research and development, state policy leadership, private sector investment, and ingenuity.