Coal Tattoo

In his State of the State address tonight, Gov. Joe Manchin just proposed for West Virginia to create what he calls an “Alternative and Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard.”

The proposal is carefully named and crafted to include coal. Under the proposal, a broad variety of coal projects could quality in helping utilities to meet Manchin’s standards.

More on this soon..


Here’s the text of the portion of Manchin’s speech dealing with this proposal:

One of the world’s most-pressing issues is a growing demand for energy. Our nation needs West Virginia’s energy resources to climb out of this recession. The opportunity for us to take the world stage in new energy development is now. Companies from around the globe are prepared to invest in West Virginia to make this kind of development a reality.


If we want to be a leader in renewable resources, we must commit to investing in the energy sources of the future. Throughout our history, our state has powered this nation. West Virginians know energy better than anyone. We must build upon our past successes and uncover even more efficient and cleaner energy sources.


That means not just coal, but natural gas, and renewable resources, including wind, solar, hydro and biofuels.


Tonight, I am introducing a bill, called the Alternative and Renewable Energy Portfolio Act, which will put West Virginia at the forefront of new energy development. It sets a realistic timeframe for us to develop alternative and renewable energy resources.


Beginning in 2015, at least 10 percent of the electric energy sold to electric customers must be generated by alternative or renewable energy sources. And, by 2025, we will require that 25 percent of electricity sold in West Virginia must be generated from alternative or renewable energy facilities.


Our bill will provide incentives to locate new alternative energy facilities in West Virginia, which will encourage the development of renewable energy resources and create jobs in the Mountain State.


This is within reach. With the growth of wind technology, by recycling waste heat from our industrial facilities, by cultivating biofuels like switchgrass, by harnessing the power of our rivers and the sun, and by expanding our clean coal efforts, we can meet our energy needs, create new jobs and improve our environment at the same time.


Electricity doesn’t always come from the power plant. Today we have the technology to generate electricity at our own homes and businesses, but there has been little incentive to invest in this technology because there is no way to get credit for the power you return to the electric grid.


My alternative and renewable energy bill will also require electric utility companies to provide net metering to residential, small business and industrial customers who generate their own electricity. This bill also requires the Public Service Commission to expand the availability of net metering to West Virginia electric customers.


It will encourage private investment in renewable energy sources, including solar, wind, biomass, hydropower, waste heat recovery and even landfill gas. It is another step toward expanding our state’s energy portfolio.


We must also continue to keep in perspective the energy resources and technology we are using today. We can’t simply abandon the way we live and generate electricity, but we must find newer and cleaner ways to produce energy with the abundance of resources we already have.


It will take investment and research. We are on the verge of discovering cleaner, greener ways to use coal and we can continue to be a low-cost producer of energy if we believe in ourselves and embrace our energy expertise.


There’s been a lot of debate about clean coal technology. Whether you agree or disagree with the concept, one thing is certain: We can improve the way we use coal and reduce the carbon that is released into the atmosphere.


One new technology that has promise is carbon capturing. West Virginia can be at the forefront of this experimental method of capturing the carbon dioxide that comes from burning fossil fuels by finding ways to add value to this waste stream.


This week I will present a bill that will allow for permits for carbon sequestration projects. It will establish regulations for monitoring carbon sequestration sites and clarify ownership of the space in which the carbon is stored. Carbon sequestration is not the only solution to controlling power plant emissions, but we should explore its potential.


Energy independence must move from talk to action, and these proposals do that. By broadening our definition of energy beyond just fossil fuels, we position ourselves to continue producing the nation’s energy by any and all means.


These are all first steps that build on my vision for energy independence. They open the door to the future of new energy development in the Mountain State.