DOE to Spend $2.3M Developing Western Renewable Energy Zones
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced plans to contribute up to $2.3 million over three years to identify areas in the Western United States with vast renewable energy resources, and expedite the development of those resources to meet regional energy needs.
DOE will carry out the project under a cooperative agreement with Western Governors' Association (WGA). The project will involve four phases: 1) identification of Western Renewable Energy Zones (WREZs); 2) development of regional transmission plans; 3) development of a process for bringing together buyers and sellers of electricity; and 4) building interstate cooperation to address permitting and multi-state cost-allocation issues.
"The importance of this initiative is two-fold; not only does it highlight the areas in the West that are able to provide clean, reliable, and abundant sources of energy, it also stresses the importance of regional electricity planning to prevent the balkanization of new renewable sources and develop the infrastructure necessary to carry this power to consumers," Assistant DOE Secretary Kolevar said.
By identifying concentrations of viable renewable resources both within and outside of zones throughout the Western Interconnection, load-serving entities, transmission providers, renewable energy developers, and state regulators will be able to make better-informed decisions regarding both the costs of renewable power, as well as the development and siting of infrastructure to access areas with renewable sources of energy.
"Unprecedented challenges face the West in meeting the growing demand for electricity, while achieving local and global environmental goals," said Utah Governor Jon Huntsman. "The WREZ project will help us tap our vast renewable resources and develop transmission that considers communities, environmental impacts, and costs."