WV PSC Asleep at the Wheel, Missing Lowest Cost Electricity Option

Well, here’s another report clearly illustrating that the cost of energy efficiency investments is far less expensive than all other forms of electricity generation.  Here is a chart from the recent ACEEE report on comparative levelized cost of EE versus construction of new electricity generation:

EE cost chartWhy does this chart and report matter to West Virginians right now?  Because the WV PSC, in its tortured decision to dump the obsolete Harrison coal-fired plant on WV’s FirstEnergy companies simply brushed aside investment in energy efficiency in our state’s electrical system.  And, because the PSC just approved the transfer of a big chunk of Unit 3 of the John Amos coal-fired plant onto the electric bills of WV’s AEP customers at Appalachian Power.  The PSC is still considering Ohio-based AEP’s plan to dump half of the Mitchell coal-fired plant onto AEP’s Wheeling Power rate payers.  AEP officials testified in the PSC case that the levelized cost of the Mitchell plant is about 6.8 cents per kwh, far above the levelized cost of energy efficiency investments that would make that plant unnecessary.

Even the WV Division of Energy, in its new state energy plan, pointed out that energy efficiency investment is far less expensive than power plants.  But Gov. Tomblin and the PSC and the other WV politicians all ignored this part of their own plan and continue to pimp the coal industry and coal-fired power plants.

We’ll let ACEEE’s Maggie Molina have the last word here:

The results of our analysis clearly demonstrate that energy efficiency programs are holding
steady as the least-cost energy resource option that provides the best value for America’s
energy dollar. Data from a large number of diverse jurisdictions across the nation show that energy efficiency has remained the lowest-cost resource even as the amount of energy
efficiency being captured has increased significantly. At an average cost of 2.8 cents per
kilowatt hour (kWh), electricity efficiency programs are one half to one third the cost of
alternative new electricity resource options such as building new power plants.




One thought on “WV PSC Asleep at the Wheel, Missing Lowest Cost Electricity Option

  1. I’ve only got one argument with this analysis. You say near the end that Tomblin, other WV pols, and the WV PSC are ignoring the lowest-cost EE option “to pimp the coal industry and coal-fired power plants.” I think you’ve got that part wrong. I think they’re not pimps, they’re the whores, and the coal industry is the John.
    I’ve been reading things about the likelihood that we will soon be facing a severe shortage of oil and gas, and even coal will keep getting more expensive (even if you ignore the massive environmental costs, which in WV we always do). In this scenario it’s criminally irresponsible not to be investing in the energy efficiency moves that will keep people twenty years from now from choosing between freezing and cutting down and burning too many trees. Now, while we still have the fossil fuels, we should be insulating the hell out of existing buildings and demanding high standards on new ones. But denial isn’t a river in Egypt–it’s the atmosphere over the US.

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