Appalachian utilities lack in sustainable energy efforts, study - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Appalachian utilities lack in sustainable energy efforts, study says

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  • Many WV coal counties losing revenue

    Many WV coal counties losing revenue

    Monday, August 8 2016 10:15 AM EDT2016-08-08 14:15:05 GMT

    As Appalachian coal production continues its drastic decline, West Virginia’s coal-producing counties are  not only losing people as lifelong residents are forced to flee their homes in order to find work, but in many cases, they’re also relinquishing millions of dollars from their budgets.

    As Appalachian coal production continues its drastic decline, West Virginia’s coal-producing counties are  not only losing people as lifelong residents are forced to flee their homes in order to find work, but in many cases, they’re also relinquishing millions of dollars from their budgets.

A report released by Ceres and Clean Energy assessed how 32 of the largest U.S. investor-owned electricity utility holding companies stack up on renewable energy and energy efficiency — and according to the study, Appalachian companies have some improvements to make.

The parent holding companies selected represent more than 80 subsidiary operating companies scattered throughout the U.S. and collectively account for about 68 percent of total 2012 U.S. retail electricity sales, according to the study.

Using data from more than 10 sources, the report, titled "Benchmarking Utility Clean Energy Deployment: 2014," benchmarked the companies based on percentages in three categories of clean energy deployment: renewable energy sales, or the total amount of renewable electricity sold to retail customers; cumulative annual energy efficiency savings; and incremental annual energy efficiency savings, or the energy savings from new programs or new participants in existing programs.

None of the top five companies in any of the three categories serve the Appalachian region — most were based in the western United States — but two companies with ties to the Mountain State wound up in the bottom five at least once. 

AES Corp., which operates the Laurel Mountain wind generation facility in Belington, landed 29th out of 32 in renewable energy sales. Additionally, Dominion Resources, which owns Clarksburg-based natural gas distribution company Dominion Hope and operates natural gas pipelines throughout West Virginia, wound up in the bottom five for all three benchmarks: 30th in renewable energy sales, 31st in cumulative annual energy efficiency, and last in incremental annual energy efficiency.

American Electric Power, Appalachian Power’s parent company, and FirstEnergy, owner of Mon Power and Potomac Edison, also wound up toward the bottom, ranking 24th and 25th, respectively, in renewable energy sales. Both companies only moved one rung up on the ladder in cumulative energy efficiency savings, landing in 23rd and 24th, respectively. FirstEnergy surpassed AEP in incremental annual energy efficiency savings, though, landing in 17th while AEP found itself in 20th.

Visit Clean Edge's website to download the entire study. 

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