At the National Governors Association (NGA) Summer Meeting in Rhode Island on Saturday, July 15, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval became 2017-18 NGA chair.

Each chair selects an area of focus for a yearlong initiative. Gov. Sandoval has chosen to hone in on how states can support technology innovation, specifically within the energy and transportation sectors, for Ahead of the Curve: Innovation Governors.

“I am truly honored that my colleagues have given me the opportunity to be the next chair of the National Governors Association.,” Gov. Sandoval said. “My initiative will examine how governors and those we govern can stay one step ahead in our rapidly changing world and how we can better prepare for the ongoing technological transformation of the economy.”

At the closing session of the 2017 Summer Meeting, Gov. Sandoval had a “fireside chat” with Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk to discuss the impact of disruptive technologies such as electric and autonomous vehicles, renewable energy generation, and artificial intelligence (AI). There Musk predicted that in 10 years “half of all production I think will be electronic vehicles. I think almost all cars produced will be autonomous. … That will be a huge transformation.” He also predicted a “massive growth in solar,” including utility scale and rooftop generation.

Ahead of the Curve will have several goals, including to help states:

  • Support technology transformation;
  • Modernize policy and regulatory processes;
  • Prepare and educate the current and future workforce;
  • Update communications and data systems;
  • Protect systems from cyber threats; and
  • Inform citizens about benefits and risks associated with new technology.

“It is paramount that as governors, we learn as much as we can on these issues and how energy technology can advance alongside new and current sources,” Gov. Sandoval said. “I am also confident we can and will craft cutting-edge policies that will make the transportation transition a smooth one.”

Over the next year, as part of Ahead of the Curve, Gov. Sandoval will host two summits: one on energy innovation in October in Denver and one on transportation innovation in January in Las Vegas. The summits will bring together governors, state officials, industry and other stakeholders to converse with leading thinkers and doers, report on state action ideas, share governors’ success stories, showcase technologies and policy solutions and use detailed story maps to help illustrate the impact of innovation for each state and related policy developments.

As part of the summits, state teams will participate in hands-on learning tours at the 2017 Solar Decathlon (at the energy summit) and the 2018 CES Conference (at the transportation summit). The initiative will conclude with an experts’ roundtable and the release of policy road maps to help governors navigate these important issues in the coming years.

 ###