The annual meeting of the Western Governors' Association (WGA) in Park City, Utah included announcements of initiatives to advance the development of a smarter electric grid and more reliable transmission system, promote the development of renewable energy sources, and further groundwork to integrate these energy sources onto the national electricity grid.
The DOE and the WGA released a joint report by the Western Renewable Energy Zones initiative that takes first steps toward identifying areas in the Western transmission network that have the potential for large-scale development of renewable resources with low environmental impacts.
Participants in the project included renewable energy developers, tribal interests, utility planners, environmental groups and government policy-makers. Together, they developed new modeling tools and data to facilitate interstate collaboration in permitting new multi-state transmission lines. You can catch videos of the various meetings here: http://www.westgov.org/wga/meetings/am2009/index.htm