ORVI Insider #26: ‘Your County Is Getting a Bad Deal, and You Can Do Better’

 

 

The  latest news, research, and analysis from the Ohio River Valley Institute.

November 2, 2021

“Your county is getting a bad deal, and you can do better.”That’s the message Senior Researcher Sean O’Leary has been delivering to county commissioners, city councils, and economic development groups across the Ohio Valley. Rising coal prices and the economic fallout of the natural gas ‘boom’ have left swaths of the region in dire straits. But the success story of Centralia, Washington, a formerly struggling coal town that rebounded its economy with investments in clean energy and energy efficiency, has O’Leary and others hopeful that the model can be replicated in Appalachia. Read New York Times advisory board member Farah Stockman’s analysis of the shifting winds in Appalachian economic development here.

Need a YouTube break? Join ORVI researchers and partner organizations for in-depth conversations on abandoned mine land reclamation in Illinois, the role of hydrogen in Pennsylvania’s energy transition, and the future of the U.S. coal industry. Check out recordings of these events below. For more related content, visit ORVI’s YouTube channel.

Here’s the latest from the Ohio River Valley Institute:

ICYMI: Recent ORVI Events

Coal and the Energy Transition

Once America’s primary fuel source, coal has been in decline for decades. What will happen to the industry as the energy transition accelerates? Senior Researcher Sean O’Leary joins a conversation about the coal industry’s future in the energy sector and the importance of a clean and just energy transition for all.

Watch the recording on YouTube

Hydrogen 101

Research Fellow Eric de Place and PennFuture discuss hydrogen: what it is, how it’s produced, and what role it could—and should—play in Pennsylvania’s energy transition. 

Watch the recording on YouTube

Energy Transitions: Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation in Illinois

Senior Researcher Eric Dixon joins Illinois Extension, Just Transition Fund, and Prairie Rivers Network to discuss the history and importance of Illinois’ Abandoned Mine Land program and federal funding opportunities that could bring up to $1.2 billion to Illinois for reclamation over the next 15 years. 

Watch the recording on YouTube

ORVI In the News

‘Your County Is Getting a Bad Deal, and You Can Do Better’ (New York Times) 

For months, Senior Researcher Sean O’Leary has been meeting with elected officials in the Ohio Valley counties hardest hit by the decline of coal and the hollow economic returns of the natural gas boom to deliver a proposition: “I’m here to say your county is getting a bad deal and you can do better.” 

New York Times editorial board member Farah Stockman outlines O’Leary’s pitch, which follows the success story of Centralia, a coal town in Washington State where a coal mine closed and the town’s coal-fired power plant is in the process of being retired. The company that owns the mine and the power plant funded grants to workers, families, local businesses, nonprofits and local governments to foster clean energy development, energy efficiency and education. The results? Jobs in Centralia have grown at twice the rate of the nation.

Share Share

Tweet Tweet

Forward Forward

Not Even Joe Manchin Wants to Pay For This ‘So Darn Expensive’ Coal Bailout (Columbus Dispatch) 

“You might not have believed there could be a strategy to save coal and natural gas that West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin would describe as ‘so darn expensive that it makes it almost impossible,’ Senior Researcher Sean O’Leary writes. But carbon capture, use, and sequestration (CCUS) is just that—according to ORVI research, if the nation’s operating coal- and gas-fired power plants were retrofitted with CCUS technology and the cost were to show up in our electric bills, the average residential customer would see their bill jump by $293 per year, an increase of about 21%. To effectively decarbonize the electric system without exorbitant rate hikes, policymakers should consider clean energy investment strategies like the one that supercharged the economy of Centralia, Washington, O’Leary concludes.

Share Share

Tweet Tweet

Forward Forward

West Virginia’s Reliance on Coal is Getting More Expensive, and Residents are Footing the Bill (CNN) 

In the coldest months of winter, West Virginian Felisha Chase pays more for electricity than she does for her home. Her story is all too common in West Virginia, where coal-fired power generation constitutes 89% of the state’s energy grid. As coal becomes increasingly expensive, the cracks in West Virginia’s power system are becoming increasingly apparent. Fixing the system will require the early retirement of the state’s array of coal-fired power plants, Senior Researcher Sean O’Leary says. “These plants, even if they’re kept open, are going to be operating at such a low level there will be far fewer jobs and far less coal consumed than it is now,” O’Leary said. “It’s as if everyone walks around utterly oblivious to that fact, and it has huge economic implications. If anything, there’s a concerted effort to prevent that kind of reimagination of West Virginia as a different kind of energy state.”

Share Share

Tweet Tweet

Forward Forward

Counting Votes and Losing Time: An Update on RGGI in PA (National Resources Defense Council) 

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is nearing a moment of truth in Pennsylvania. The potential last hurdle to enacting the initiative, which would set limits on carbon pollution from power plants, place a price on carbon, and reinvest the proceeds in PA communities, is a vote by the General Assembly, Mark Szybist writes. Ohio River Valley Institute research has demonstrated how enacting RGGI could ease the energy transition for economically struggling coal communities. 

Share Share

Tweet Tweet

Forward Forward

Comprehensive Coal Ash Clean Up Drives Jobs, Economic Benefit (Farm and Dairy) 

Coal ash, the hazardous residue left behind when coal is burned to generate electricity, poses a threat to public health and the environment. A recent report from ReImagine Appalachia, Union of Concerned Scientists, Earthjustice, and the Ohio River Valley Institute demonstrates how comprehensive coal ash cleanup in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Indiana can create jobs while safeguarding the health and safety of frontline communities. 

Share Share

Tweet Tweet

Forward Forward

What We’re Reading

Why West Virginia Is Left Especially Vulnerable by Manchin Blocking Key Climate Policy (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

Opinion: How to Talk to Your Grandchildren about Joe Manchin and the Climate (The Washington Post)

Why Are Natural Gas Prices High? Because Fracking Isn’t Really Profitable. (Barron’s)



Copyright © *|CURRENT_YEAR|* *|LIST:COMPANY|*, All rights reserved.
*|IFNOT:ARCHIVE_PAGE|* *|LIST:DESCRIPTION|*Our mailing address is:
*|HTML:LIST_ADDRESS_HTML|* *|END:IF|*

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

*|IF:REWARDS|* *|HTML:REWARDS|* *|END:IF|*