People want to know
Joe Biden is not yet president-elect officially, but it seems clear he will be the nation’s next chief executive. The sooner he clarifies his agenda — especially regarding energy — the better.
It is probably no coincidence that within days of the election, some energy companies began revealing their own plans. Both major power companies serving our area — American Electric Power and FirstEnergy — have revealed plans to reduce generation using fossil fuels. AEP says it will eliminate 1,633 megawatts of coal-fueled generation by the end of 2028. First Energy plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30%, by 2030.
That will affect electricity prices in West Virginia and Ohio adversely. We already are paying more for power than we did just a few years ago, because of the move away from coal-fired generating stations. How will Biden address electric generation? Will he use executive orders to make mining and use of coal less attractive?
Also of concern in our area is Biden’s stance on natural gas and petroleum production. Will he, as critics warned, “ban fracking?”
Hydraulic fracturing of gas and oil wells has been the reason why Americans have become largely self-reliant for energy. It also has become a key facet of our economies in West Virginia and Ohio. As area residents are aware, availability of gas is one reason why the PTT Global Chemical ethane cracker plant is being considered for Belmont County. Will uncertainty over Biden affect it?
Banning — or even placing new limits on fracking — would inflict drastic harm on both our states. It also would force gas and gasoline prices up nationally.
Biden may not have formulated a detailed energy strategy. During the campaign, he wanted to appeal to his base voters, many of whom favor harsh steps against fossil fuels such as those suggested in the “Green New Deal.” At the same time, Biden disavowed warnings he would ban fracking, in order to persuade more conservative voters to back him. We hope Biden will adopt a rational energy policy. The sooner we know, the better.