CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The president of Consumer Energy Alliance sees coal as a vital part of the energy mix in West Virginia, but says the state needs to continue to work to diversify its economy.

“The better question is: How can we continue to use coal in this country, but continue to press energy innovation and ingenuity to make it cleaner and more efficient?” David Holt told MetroNews.

The CEA announced last month that advancements in new technology and innovation through techniques and materials will directly have an impact on affordable energy prices this year.

CEA’s “Campaign for America‚Äôs Energy” campaign identified five key trends likely to change the future energy landscape in the coming years.

One of those areas include the building of pipelines. Holt said pipelines are critical for a state like West Virginia.

“We’ve got to build those pipelines that deliver this great natural gas from the Marcellus and from West Virginia to the folks that absolutely need it. Without it, electricity prices go up. That only hurts folks on fixed incomes and folks out or below the poverty level more than the rest of us,” he said.

The other trends include the increased popularity of solar, wind and other renewables, offshore development, grid modernization and smart city.

Holt said solar and win will become more economical, but will not be replaced by natural gas.

“Becoming a larger percentage of our energy output, but as demand keeps going up, it’s not going to be a replacement for natural gas. It’s going to be in addition to natural gas,” he said.

Energy states like West Virginia are capable of producing more natural gas, which is good for the economy, Holt said.

“We do see a slight up tick in the price of natural gas which helps states like West Virginia and the transportation sector and schools and other sectors of the West Virginia society that rely on a robust energy revenue, but we also see that West Virginia can produce more, which also creates more money, so it becomes kind of a win-win,” he said.

To read the CEA’s report, CLICK HERE.

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