CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WOWK) — Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed an Executive Order this week, that aims to make “The Old Dominion” free of fossil fuels by the year 2050. He wants Virginia’s power grid completely supplied by clean energy sources like solar, and wind energy. Some here believe West Virginia should do the same.
“Well I think it’s good to have a plan because the climate is warming, that’s scientifically proven. And West Virginia doesn’t have a plan and I think it really needs one also,” said Gary Zuckett, of West Virginia Citizens Action.
There is support for alternative energy sources in West Virginia, including a new solar array that will power the parking garages at Yeager Airport in Charleston. But leaders of the state’s energy sector believe fossil fuels will always be needed.
“And we have such an abundance of coal and abundant natural gas and oil still, and it provides a vital role. It’s actually the quickest growing fuel internationally, worldwide,” said Chris Hamilton, of the West Virginia Coal Association.
But even industry leaders say the 2050 goal in Virginia, is far more reasonable than former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to end fossil fuel use nationwide by 2030.
While Virginia’s Governor has made his move to eliminate fossil fuels in his state, political watchers here say it’s unlikely to happen in West Virginia. That’s because this state is far more dependent on the energy sector for its finances, and of course the governor here made a lot of his fortune in the coal industry.