Governors assess gas supply, urge Alaska pipeline construction

Ann de Rouffignac
OGJ Online

PORTLAND, ORE., Feb. 3�With hydroelectricity at all time lows and power demand growing, western governors Friday called for construction of the natural gas pipeline from Alaska to the continental US, and an immediate assessment of gas availability and transmission capacity to determine if supplies will be adequate to meet this summer�s peak.

Concluding a hastily called energy summit, the Western Governors� Association also agreed to ask the federal interagency task force headed up by Vice-Pres. Dick Cheney to work with them to streamline regulations allowing retired generation to be reactivated, increase production from existing generation, and allow backup generation to come online.

The governors concluded the day�s conference with a set of resolutions for both the short-term energy crisis and the long-term energy problems facing the region, including:

� Encourage long-term contracts to reduce dependence on the spot electricity market in California, a step taken Thursday with passage of a law signed by Gov. Gray Davis.

� Encourage non-California utilities and direct end use customers to hedge power purchases against future price spikes.

� Urge utilities to adopt rate reforms that send more accurate price signals to encourage consumers to shift consumption of power to off-peak times.

� Ask state public utility commissions to approve demand-exchange tariffs to allow consumers to voluntarily agree to reduce demand in exchange for compensation.

� Accelerate efficiency practices and investments in state buildings and ask federal and local government to do the same.

� Ask for federal legislation establishing enforceable system reliability rules and creation of regional state and province advisory bodies.

� Seek a centralized grid-wide database that tracks demand, generation, and transmission facilities under construction, in the permitting process, or under consideration.

� Support efforts to ensure information is available on loads, transmission, and generation to maintain grid reliability and adequacy.

For the longer term, the governors agreed to pursue supply and demand policies that include the following:

� Streamline permitting energy facilities, implement research and development into clean coal technologies, accelerate development and deployment of renewable energy technologies, and review environmental policies to ensure they are as efficient as possible.

� Review and improve energy efficiency building codes for western states, develop federal appliance efficiency standards unique to western state climates, and support federal and state tax incentives to accelerate new energy efficient technologies.

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