It seems that WV PSC Chairman’s comments were even worse than Ken Ward reported in his Charleston Gazette story. Here is the direct quote reported on Grounded this morning:
“There was an awful lot of testimony (this morning, in the public portion), everybody said we can save the world by energy efficiency and demand response.”
Mr. Albert should simply have said nothing about his opinion of people who had made the effort to participate in a public process. But he went beyond that to specifically make a sarcastic remark about their specific comments.
I have seen a lot of comments filed in the Harrison case. Many of them are simplistic and unsophisticated, but that is to be expected of non-experts. Mr. Albert should have thanked everyone for showing an interest in the case and taking the time to comment, then he should have gone to other topics.
Is it surprising that Mr. Albert’s disdain for the impacts of energy efficiency investments and demand management reflect those of his former clients, WV’s big Ohio-based electric utilities?
It is also not surprising that Mr. Albert shows so little knowledge and sophistication himself about electrical regulation and management of power systems. Mr. Albert appears to be out of step with WV’s current state energy plan, released just this year, which states:
Increasing generation capacity and transmission and distribution (T&D) capabilities has been the traditional approach for meeting increased energy demand. However, the resources utilized in building new power plants and expanding T&D are often more expensive than resources needed to fund efficiency measures. Americans spend approximately $215 billion/year on the production of electricity at a price of 6 to 12 cents per kilowatt hour. Investments in efficiency only amount to approximately $2.6 billion/year at a cost of around 3 cents per kilowatt hour saved.
Mr. Albert would do well to look at the common sense approach taken by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council which manages the electrical system in the Pacific Northwest. The NPCC has been placing investment in energy efficiency at the top of its consideration of electricity capacity for the last 30 years:
Over the past 30 years other federal and state policies have recognized that a “kilowatt-saved is equivalent to a kilowatt-generated.” Indeed, some states have adopted the Power Act’s resource development priorities, which gave energy efficiency the highest priority for resource development.
Here is what the NPCC lists as the first element of its sixth five year plan:
Improved efficiency of electricity use is by far the lowest-cost and lowest-risk resource available to the region. Cost-effective efficiency should be developed aggressively and on a consistent basis for the foreseeable future. The Council’s plan demonstrates that cost-effective efficiency improvements could on average meet 85 percent of the region’s growth in energy needs over the next 20 years.
So, it appears that Mr. Albert should stop cracking wise about WV citizens and start trying to catch up to the common sense policies that have been in place in other states for the past thirty years.