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Time to Get Serious About Strengthening Our Energy Infrastructure

Written by Britt Weygandt

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September 5, 2008
by Britt Weygandt 
Western Business Roundtable
Did you see this recent Associated Press story entitled, "U.S. on verge of grand-scale blackout"?
Look at what key insiders are saying about the prospects of another major electrical system outage in the US:

Contrast this dire assessment by technical experts with what one sees playing out in political arenas across the West:

Many Governors across the West have been trailblazing leaders in pushing for greater investment in new, high-voltage transmission lines.  Yet the Western Governors' Association is focusing its energy on discussing "renewable energy zones" instead of pushing for resource-independent transmission. While such zones are a laudable idea, they don't address the fundamental challenge of keeping the lights on in the West.

Moreover, WGA has placed groups like the Sierra Club and the Wilderness Society in key leadership positions in their energy infrastructure planning processes. These are among the same groups that often sue to slow or stop virtually every major proposed electric transmission line or baseload power facility.

At the Roundtable, we have long championed the need to stay focused on encouraging rapid and aggressive investments in transmission system upgrades -- upgrades that don't favor any particular resource or politically-connected energy developer, but which are an absolute technical necessity to support the reliability of the grid and allow it to meet the growing demands being placed upon it.

It is critically important that the West re-focus on the fundamental issue here:  we have a long way to go to catch up on our backbone electricity infrastructure, and a shrinking window in which to get there.  Failure is simply not an option.  People lose their lives when the lights go out.

That is why we are convening a regional summit this November called "Keeping the Lights On In The West -- Averting Economic Disaster and Saving Lives." This summit will feature some of the nation's leading thinkers on how we can strengthen our nation's energy grid. It will focus on real solutions -- not overheated rhetoric. Press Release detail
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