After generations of a coal-driven West Virginia economy, state leaders say energy diversity now paves the road to future prosperity.
Speaker of the House Roger Hanshaw said West Virginia’s transition from coal to green energy is long overdue.
Hanshaw pointed to incoming multi-billion dollar steelmaker Nucor and the company’s minimal to zero carbon footprint, an electric bus factory coming to South Charleston and to lifting the ban on nuclear energy production as examples of the change. These are components the speaker said marks West Virginia’s globally competitive beginning.
“Not just in energy but the entire economy. Yes, it is a validation that West Virginia is transitioning into a 21st century economy,” Hanshaw said,
Del. Evan Hansen is also a renewable energy environmentalist. Hansen said the recent solar energy bills passed by the legislature further fuel the transition.
“Those have led to solar development coming on in the next couple of years,” Hansen said, “Creating hundreds, if not thousands, of megawatts of solar in the coalfields and other parts of the state.”
Hanshaw and Hansen agreed that any future state business recruiting, whether it is a big or small business, must focus on green energy.
“The jobs of the future are going to be low carbon manufacturing jobs,” Hansen said, “And that has benefits not just regarding climate change but local air quality.”
“We have to compete on a global scale and that means products that a global economy demands,” Hanshaw said.
Both lawmakers agreed West Virginia’s transition from coal to a green energy economy was not just long overdue, but the only path to a prosperous future.