Wind group takes up solar battle flag

Source: Ben Panko, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, January 22, 2016

The Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition will start advocating for solar energy in the United States and adopt a new name to reflect its broadened mission, the group announced yesterday.

“The addition of solar to the coalition’s portfolio represents a commitment to future economic and renewable energy growth, and further diversification of our nation’s energy portfolio,” said Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R), the current chairman of the bipartisan group.

The coalition will expand its focus to support solar research and development, and work to help solve issues including energy storage and transfer, the group said in a statement.

“Wind and solar provide complementary benefits to the U.S. electric grid and will help diversify the country’s energy mix,” said Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D), vice chairwoman of the group. “The need for states to take a broader view of renewable power is clear.”

The solar power industry employs nearly 210,000 Americans, according to the coalition, and is expected to provide more than 3.5 percent of America’s electricity by 2020.