Governors’ Accord for a New Energy Future

Click here for a signed copy of the Accord, executed February 16, 2016.

American prosperity has always depended on embracing new ideas and technologies. By deploying renewable, cleaner and more efficient energy solutions, we can make our national economy more productive and resilient.  These technologies help to diversify energy sources that power our economy and reduce dependence on foreign energy sources while securing abundant, domestically produced electricity.   Embracing these new energy solutions also modernizes our infrastructure and transportation systems, decreases air pollution, and supports the growth of innovative American companies.  

Current challenges also demand these new energy solutions.  Extreme weather events, such as floods, droughts, wildfires and sea-level rise, can negatively impact electric reliability and the economy. Embracing new energy solutions can provide more durable and resilient infrastructure, and enable economic growth, while protecting the health of our communities and natural resources. These improvements will help secure a safe and prosperous future for our country.

We recognize that now is the time to embrace a bold vision of the nation’s energy future.  And to do so, states are once again poised to lead.  We join together, despite unique opportunities and challenges in each state, to embrace a shared vision of this future:

Our states will diversify energy generation and expand clean energy sources.

Expanding energy efficiency and renewable energy in a cost-effective way strengthens our states’ economic productivity, reduces air pollution and avoids energy waste.  Integrating more of these clean energy sources into our electricity grids can also improve the flexibility and stability of these grids.  Promoting energy savings through efficiency and conservation programs is the fastest, most reliable and often cheapest way to meet our energy needs.  Technologies that capture solar, wind, hydroelectric and geothermal power have become viable and cost-effective to integrate into our states’ energy portfolios.  These technologies are already providing energy to millions of Americans while reducing energy waste and air pollution. Amidst decreasing costs of renewable energy, and rapid advances in efficiency throughout entire energy systems, our states will diversify our energy portfolios for economic, health and environmental benefits.

Our states will modernize energy infrastructure.

Modern distribution and transmission grids are required to give consumers more control over their own energy use, increase electricity reliability, and integrate more renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies into our energy systems.  Electrical grid improvements, advanced in a cost-effective way, can empower utilities and consumers to manage electricity flexibly and efficiently.  

Our states will encourage clean transportation options.

Hundreds of thousands of electric vehicles, and tens of millions of vehicles using alternative fuels, are driving on American roads, and fuels such as natural gas, biofuels and hydrogen are increasingly available to power vehicles.  Supporting automakers’ and fueling companies’ market expansion for these new vehicles and fuels expands consumer choice, lessens dependence on petroleum and reduces pollution.  By supporting needed infrastructure development, incentives and policies when appropriate, our states will encourage expanded use of these new technologies.

Our states will plan for this energy transition.

Given the complexity of state-wide energy systems and the scale of modernizing these systems, many states have developed energy plans and strategies to implement energy improvements. These approaches have incorporated best practices and lessons-learned from new technologies, other states’ energy policies, consumer programs, and workforce training efforts.  These state-by-state approaches enable each state to meet benchmarks it sets for itself in areas such as energy diversification, reduced energy waste, improved air and water, and economic performance.  Our states will support each other in developing, refining and implementing these plans through sharing expertise among our policy experts.   

Our states will work together to make these transformational policy changes.

Our states are already transforming energy and transportation to be cleaner, more efficient, and more resilient.   Many actions taking place in one state can be adapted to meet the needs of other states and scaled across regions.  Examples include streamlining siting of environmentally-desirable infrastructure, setting renewable and energy efficiency standards, adopting incentives for clean vehicles and fuels, and diversifying energy portfolios to integrate peak shaving, efficiency and renewable energy into a state’s energy mix.  Building on current efforts, our states will help each other reach shared energy and transportation objectives.  This collaboration will be advanced through periodic meetings and technical convenings of our states.

Our states will help secure a stronger national energy future.

Given the unique energy portfolio and regulatory framework of each state, Governors are uniquely positioned to drive lasting improvements to our country’s energy system.  Federal agencies lend technical expertise, provide funding, and enable research and development that can help our states make energy improvements.  In order to provide effective support, federal agencies must work closely with states to tailor technical support, funding and research to the needs of each state and avoid presupposing the best types of assistance.   Strong partnerships among our states and between our states and the federal government will improve our country in the decades to come.

Click here for a signed copy of the Accord, executed February 16, 2016.