DOE, governors association announce task force on national electricity infrastructure

Providence, R.I., August 7, 2001 — Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham and Michigan Governor John Engler today announced the establishment of a blue-ribbon task force on electricity infrastructure that will focus on state policies and regional issues that impact the nation’s energy sector.

The announcement was made at the National Governors Association (NGA) Annual Meeting and was identified as a high priority for Governor Engler, who was sworn in earlier in the day as the new Chairman of the NGA.

The task force will be sponsored jointly by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Governors Association, through its Center for Best Practices, and will examine current state and federal policies and make recommendations in three key areas:

* Identification of opportunities to streamline generation siting policies and processes, consistent with sound environmental policy, to ensure that generation capacity is in place to facilitate competitive markets;

* Identification of regulatory and institutional barriers to the siting of new transmission infrastructure, and development of a series of recommendations to help states break the siting logjam; and

* Identification of regulatory and institutional barriers to the siting of new transmission infrastructure, and development of a series of recommendations to help states break the siting logjam; and

Secretary Abraham noted that the task force is a key initiative aimed at continuing the implementation of President Bush’s National Energy Policy. “This effort is evidence of our recognition of the unique energy concerns facing different regions of the United States. By working with the National Governors Association, we hope to determine how to better serve the needs of diverse areas of the country.” Secretary Abraham added that this effort complements other significant activities already underway within that Department of Energy, such as the recent announcement on California’s Path 15, that also is aimed at implementing the recommendations of the President’s energy plan on electricity restructuring.

Governor Engler stated that the task force would be a valuable resource for state officials dealing with energy issues. “This task force will provide Governors as well as other state energy policymakers with specific recommendations, ‘best practices’ information, and other assistance designed to facilitate our states’ contribution to a robust national electricity infrastructure.”

The task force will develop research papers, conduct executive policy forums, provide targeted assistance to individual states, and prepare interim and final reports throughout the two-year project.

The task force will include policy advisors, state utility commissioners, and directors of state energy offices and other state officials, and will be supported by staff from the NGA’s Center for Best Practices. Representatives from the Department of Energy and other federal agencies, industry, academia, and non-governmental organizations will contribute additional expertise through participation on Advisory Committees.

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