Wash.’s Inslee tapped to lead Governors’ Wind Energy CoalitionĀ 

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A first-term Democratic governor from the Pacific Northwest and a seasoned Republican from the Corn Belt have been appointed chairman and vice chairman of the Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition, the organization announced yesterday.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), elected to the statehouse in 2012 after resigning his seat in the U.S. House, will lead the group alongside Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R), a two-time governor who served from 1983 to 1999 and was elected again in 2010 after 12 years out of office. He was re-elected in 2014.

As leaders of the 5-year-old organization, which now claims 23 governors, Inslee and Branstad will work to develop the nation’s wind power resources and promote state and federal policies that promote wind energy as a viable source of U.S. electricity.

“States continue to play a leading role developing the nation’s renewable energy resources, and capturing the jobs and economic benefits that these growing clean energy industries provide,” Inslee said in a statement.

Since 2001, Washington has attracted more than $5.7 billion in wind energy investment. It ranks seventh among the states for installed wind power capacity, at 3,075 megawatts, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

Iowa is the nation’s third-largest wind power producer behind Texas and California, with nearly 5,700 MW of installed capacity at the end of 2014, according to AWEA. Among Republicans, Branstad is viewed as a champion of wind power. Today, wind turbines account for 27 percent of Iowa’s electricity production.

“We are tapping a renewable energy resource that continues to strengthen Iowa’s economy with rewarding careers in rural communities, investments that benefit landowners and local school districts, and an expanding supply chain of local businesses,” Branstad said. “I look forward to working with Governor Inslee and other governors across the country to ensure that our nation effectively utilizes this renewable source of energy.”

Among other priorities, the wind coalition has advocated for Congress to extend the federal renewable energy production and investment tax credits, and for federal policies to promote transmission infrastructure for both onshore and offshore wind farms.