The propaganda line is WV is that coal is our state’s most abundant electricity resource. That statement, which we see repeated in the state media year after year, is simply not true.
Our state’s most abundant electricity resource is the resourcefulness and ingenuity of West Virginians. The second most abundant resource is solar energy, which includes the power potential of the wind, as well as direct photovoltaic conversion. So coal might be the third most abundant electric resource, but gas, at least temporarily, might be catching up fast.
Mike Harman, of Energy Efficient West Virginia, had an op ed piece in the Charleston Daily Mail the other day that illustrates how we can leverage our most abundant resource to lower electric bills in WV. Increasing the wisdom of our electricity use, by using it more efficiently, or simply using it less, is the key to reducing electrical bills in WV. Until we fully exploit this resource, we can’t even begin to assess how much new generating capacity we might need for the future.
Mike focuses on what power companies and regulators can do, but every West Virginian has the ability to reduce his or her electric bills right now, without government or corporate “help.”
As I have said many times before on The Power Line — stop thinking like a consumer. Start thinking like an energy producer. If you have electric heat, do you really need any incentives to install a programmable thermostat that will cost you $200 and pay for itself in one winter? Do you really need a power company discount, that will be charged to your electric bill through the rate making process, to get you to replace your incandescent light bulbs with florescent bulbs that will reduce you lighting bill by over one half? Do you really want to spend thousands of extra dollars on a home solar power system to cover your entire current 1000 kwh per month electrical use without trying to cut that use first to its bare minimum?
As Mike says, we need power companies to start investing now in efficiency and demand management, but there are lots of things you can do right now to save money, reduce your electric bills and build a more reliable and healthy electrical system in our state. Why wait? Do it now.
Cross posted on Coalition for Reliable Power