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Initiative Aims to Identify Renewable Energy Zones in Western States
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced plans to contribute up to $2.3 million over three years, subject to annual appropriations, to identify areas in the Western U.S. with vast renewable energy resources, and expedite the development and delivery of those resources to meet regional energy needs.
The Western Renewable Energy Zones (WREZ) project, launched by the Western Governors’ Association in cooperation with DOE, will promote regional transmission planning and encourage the development of renewable sources of energy, according to DOE.
The project will involve four phases: identification of renewable energy zones in the Western Interconnection; development of regional transmission plans to enhance access to renewable resources located in these zones; development of a transparent process for bringing together buyers and sellers of electricity generated from renewable energy sources; and building interstate cooperation to address permitting and multi-state cost-allocation issues.
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, according to DOE.