Governor Manchin Wants West Virginia to Be Energy Independent

November 03, 2006

Governor Joe Manchin wants West Virginia to become the first energy-independent state in the union. That would require cars, airplanes, and trucks to use domestically produced fuels, and residents and businesses would have to implement conservation practices.

The goal is to be energy independent by 2030. Manchin told members of the state's Public Energy Authority that he wants them to prepare a blueprint for how the state might achieve energy independence by January 2007. The blueprint would outline the kinds of regulations that may need to be changed, the kinds of incentives needed, and whether new legislation needs to be drafted.

Stephanie Timmermeyer, secretary of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, said conservation, reduced consumption, and looking even more at alternative sources such as solar and wind power will be critical to any plan that is developed. With West Virginia's vast coal reserves, another option is coal gasification and liquefaction. The Public Service Commission of West Virginia sought authority in January 2006 to build a 629-megawatt integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plant adjacent to American Electric Power's (AEP) Mountaineer Plant near New Haven in Mason County. Just last month AEP filed an environmental permit application for a IGCC coal power plant in Macon County.

For more information, read WRTF TV's November 2 press release and Appalachian Power's October 2 press release.