If President-elect Obama and the new Congress want to see firsthand why dirty coal is not the energy solution for America, they need look no further than the coal-fired power plant proposed for Virginia's nearby Wise County.
Last week, the coalition Wise Energy for Wise County released a major new study showing that: "... investing in energy efficiency instead of building the Wise County coal plant to meet the same electricity demand would yield hundreds of millions of dollars more annually for the state and create at least 2,600 more jobs than the controversial 585-megawatt coal-fired power plant. The benefits would be even greater if, as anticipated, the federal government enacts controls on global warming emissions."
In bottom-line terms for consumers, that boils down to this: "... avoiding construction of the coal plant by investing in efficiency would save the average household in Dominion's service territory between $52 and $91 per year in 2012."
As Alan Gregory's Conservation News noted after reading the report: "... (you have to) wonder out loud why our society is even thinking of launching another coal-fired power plant."
The mainstream media may not be paying much attention to this study, but it's getting out far and wide among bloggers - even attracting the attention of the likes of Ted Williams Fly, Rod + Reel Online.
Over at the Gristmill, David Roberts writes under the headline "Meddling Environmentalists Try to Save People Money": "The report goes on to find that efficiency investments would also add far more revenue to the state economy and create thousands more jobs. Got that? Better for the state economy, for ratepayers, and for jobs ... [Remind] me again about how coal is cheap? About how environmental measures hurt the economy? About how utilities are just trying to do what's best for ratepayers?"
Those are exactly the right questions we need to be asking about the Wise County plant and other white elephants like it.