WEST VIRGINIA (LOOTPRESS) – According to PJM, the regional grid operator which covers West Virginia and neighboring states, natural gas fired power plants weren’t prepared for the dramatic temperature shifts that occurred over the Christmas holiday and failed to meet consumer and business demand. resulting in state consumers and businesses being asked to conserve energy.
“Winter storm Elliot, which occurred over the Christmas holiday, exposed an unfortunate reality of our current power generation mix,” said Chris Hamilton, president of the West Virginia Coal Association. “Natural gas fired power generation, which is predominant in several of our surrounding states, wasn’t able to meet demand. Consumers and business owners were asked to conserve energy during this period causing concern that their power may go out.”
Appearing before a State Senate Committee in Charleston last week, PJM, AEP and First Energy officials spoke to the failure of natural gas generators and how coal was relied upon to save the day. Although the failure of gas operations was obvious and overwhelming as the core of the problem, the final investigative report is not due until this Spring.
Natural gas generators were responsible for 70% of the outages occurring during Christmas week and regional coal plants including West Virginia’s fleet, which only account for 21% of all electric generation across America, were called upon to produce 47% of the power needed to meet demand requirements.
“With rolling blackouts occurring all around us and planned rotating outages nearby, West Virginians were safe and secure at home during Christmas thanks to our state’s coal fired generators,” said Hamilton. “In fact, all throughout the PJM system residents were able to avert catastrophic consequences due to our region’s reliance on West Virginia’s coal-fired power generation.”
“Remarkably and extraordinarily, the State Senate Economic Development Committee reviewed and passed out Senate Bill 188 – legislation that encourages the state to build gas fired power plants – the day before the PJM presentation. We hope legislators will take to heart the information offered during the PJM presentation and stop this ill-conceived legislation in its tracks.”