For the last eight months, I have been covering the current cases at the WV PSC about how FirstEnergy and AEP are going to meet the future capacity needs of their WV subsidiaries on The Power Line.
In that time period, I have seen or heard nothing from advocates of renewable power about the impacts of these cases on renewable power development in our state. There has been lots of talk in both cases about improving WV’s energy efficiency, doing a better job of managing demand and possible construction of new natural gas power plants, but nothing about locally based solar and wind power.
We now live in a state where demand for electricity is essentially flat. In that situation, if we want new generation technologies that save money and create jobs, it will have to replace existing generation technologies, which in WV means old coal fired power plants with expensive pollution control systems.
Both AEP and FirstEnergy see the handwriting on the wall. They want to immediately replace the coal fired generating capacity that they closed down with more coal fired generation by shifting ownership of their coal plants around in a corporate shell game.
If the Ohio-based power companies get their way, they will be closing off opportunities for any competing generation technologies in WV for the next 30 years.
If solar power advocates in WV don’t wake up now and get involved in these current fights, they will lose a golden opportunity to pressure regulators and politicians for expanded access to WV’s electric grid. If you have a PV system installed now, or you would like to go solar soon, or if you just think WV needs more solar generation, you might as well save your breath unless you stand up NOW to stop these Ohio-based efforts to close off WV’s energy future.