Appalachian Power to rely half on coal, half on other forms of energy by 2031

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The goal of Appalachian Power Company is to rely 50 percent on coal and 50 percent on other kinds of energy by 2031, according to the company’s president.

“The intent is to get coal down to about 50 percent, stay there and then bring the other resources up,” Chris Beam said on last week’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

As the company starts to work with new employers, the demand for new energy sources increases.

“A lot of the things that we’re hearing from them is they have their own mandated requirements that they have to meet from their board of directors like you have to be so green or so much CO2 less per year and they look at us and say ‘can you offer that?'” Beam said. “If the answer is no, then the development goes away from the state of West Virginia.”

Appalachian Power previously announced its desire to acquire two wind facilities: one at the Hardin wind facility in Ohio and the other at the Beech Ridge II wind facility in Greenbrier County, West Virginia.

Beam said they want to further diversify their energy portfolio to attract more business to the Mountain State.

“What we’re trying to do is trying to be able to make sure we can offer those things to stay on the same playing field as others, so we can bring economic development to the state,” he said.

Other energy sources would include natural gas, hydro, wind and solar. Only the wind and solar count as renewables. The wind won’t come at any additional cost to consumers, Beam said.

“The rates will not rise with the wind filing. They’re rate neutral,” he said. “There’s been a lot of pressure on our rates in the state and what we’re trying to do is diversify, but trying also not to also raise the rates, so these are kind of win-wins for everybody if we can do this.”

If Appalachian Power is approved for the two wind projects, the company will have more than 1,000 megawatts of wind and hydro generation, enough to power more than 230,000 homes.

Appalachian Power’s portfolio is currently 61 percent coal. A company spokesperson said the actual amount of coal-fired generation doesn’t change from 2017 to 2031. It’s just the company plans to introduce more wind and solar, reducing the percentage of coal.

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