With former California Energy Commission chair Bill Keese co-chairing the Western Governors' Association Clean and Diversified Energy Advisory Committee, the group is exploring advanced coal, geothermal, and biomass, as well as energy efficiency, to bring on line as much as 30,000 MW of clean energy by 2015. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger made headlines with that promise in 2004 (Circuit, April 16, 2004). "The governors won't stop with just getting the report," said Richard Halvey, who oversaw the project. Keese deferred questions to Halvey. Finding a way to bring all 30,000 MW of clean energy on line by 2015 was not the committee's primary goal, however, Halvey says. "What we really asked the task force to do was paint a picture" showing what Western states would need to do to encourage more megawatts from renewable sources, energy efficiency, and clean fossil-fuel technologies, he said. "The potential exists" to develop all 30,000 MW, but achieving that goal depends on the governors finding ways to facilitate renewable energy and energy-efficiency programs, he added. While reports on transmission and wind options remain pending, the task force has released reports on energy efficiency, geothermal energy, solar energy, biomass, and coal. Task force members concluded that it is feasible to reduce electricity use 20 percent from projected levels in 2020 through full deployment of best-practice policies and energy-efficiency programs. They found that the reduction could be made cost-effectively. Best-practice programs cited include utility-based energy-efficiency and load-management programs, building code revisions, and appliance standards. Tax credits and other financial incentives, pricing and regulatory policies, and public-sector initiatives are also included. One such initiative was Governor Schwarzenegger's executive order setting a goal for all state buildings to be 20 percent more efficient by 2015. Geothermal task force members concluded that around 5,600 MW could be commercially developed by 2015. The geothermal capacity could be developed at bus-bar costs in a range of levelized costs of energy of about 5.3 to 7.9 cents\/kWh. The price range assumes commercial project financing and the extension of a production tax credit. Without the tax credit, costs would be about 2.3 cents\/kWh higher. California offers the greatest potential for new geothermal capacity. Of 5,600 MW identified, 2,400 MW could be available at 25 California sites, the task force report said. Nevada had the second-highest geothermal potential: 1,500 MW at 63 sites. Solar energy task force members projected that as much as 8,000 MW of capacity could be installed through a combination of distributed solar electricity systems and central concentrating solar power plants. Another 2,000 MW of solar thermal systems could be installed by 2015. The task force said that by 2015, the cost of electricity from concentrating solar power plants should be on a par with that from natural gas-fired power plants. The cost of distributed systems should have declined to a point where such systems could produce power below retail utility rates across most of the West. Biomass task force members said that the resource could supply 10,000 MW of electricity to the West by 2015 at a production cost of 8 cents\/kWh. Because biomass is so dispersed, task force members saw no need to build major new transmission projects. The task force said that agricultural and municipal biomass fuels shift the form of emissions from methane to carbon dioxide. It noted that methane is almost 25 times more detrimental as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide on an instantaneous basis. The advanced coal task force recommended that state-level incentives be directed only to certain advanced coal technologies in two "tiers." In the first tier, Western governors would put a high priority on providing incentives to facilitate development of four to five electric generating plants (2,000 MW total capacity) that burn coal for fuel and capture and sequester at least 60 percent of their carbon dioxide emissions. In the second tier, a subset of state initiatives would be provided to 3,000 MW of additional capacity using technologies not yet commercially deployed in the West that "cost-effectively and rapidly move toward zero emissions and carbon capture and sequestration." Technologies could include gasification, ultra-supercritical coal, and oxy-combustion. "There was wide-scale agreement we have to take the resources we have and develop them in environmentally sensitive ways," Halvey said. Just where the recommendations go after the governors' annual meeting in June will depend on how many issues are identified as state, regional, or federal. Recommendations related to utility regulation and building codes will need state action. Those related to extending federal tax credits would likely involve one or more governors lobbying Congress for action. And recommendations related to transmission networks may need to be addressed at the state, regional, and federal levels.