WVU College of Law analysis: Biden, Manchin energy plans will benefit West Virginia

MORGANTOWN — Analysis from the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development at the West Virginia University College of Law has determined that energy infrastructure incentives proposed in complementary plans from President Joe Biden and U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) will benefit the Mountain State in job creation, energy costs and
emissions reduction.

“West Virginia’s Energy Future: Built Back Better,” an update to a report released last year, illustrates how a dramatic increase in renewable energy production over the next decade could be feasible, notwithstanding electric utilities’ current dependence on coal.

“Built Back Better” finds the rapid expansion of renewable energy enabled by the energy infrastructure incentives in the American Jobs Plan would create 3,508 full-time jobs in West Virginia, while also reducing costs by $855 million through 2040. It would additionally allow electric utilities to achieve 79.4% emission-free electricity generation in 2030.

“Last year we showed how a major increase of wind and solar could be cost-effective even without any policy changes,” said James Van Nostrand, director of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development. “Now we’re showing how the Biden and Manchin plans would enable a swifter buildout of renewable energy while simultaneously creating thousands of jobs and significantly reducing energy costs in our state.”

The report compares the current trajectory of West Virginia’s electric utilities—estimated to maintain 72.4% coal-fired generation through 2030—to the American Jobs Plan vision of major construction of energy efficiency, solar energy and wind resources. The result is 79.4% emission-free energy generation with $855 million in cost savings.

The American Jobs Plan supports investments in coal communities such as reclamation of abandoned mines and wells, hydrogen and carbon capture demonstration projects and weatherization of houses and buildings, the report said.

The Center for Energy and Sustainable Development produced “West Virginia’s Energy Future: Built Back Better” in partnership with Downstream Strategies, Synapse Energy Economics and GridLab.

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