WEST VIRGINIA

WEST VIRGINIA

The Mountain State is the second largest producer of coal and the fourth-largest energy producer in the country, with large reserves of recoverable coal that have fueled a long history of coal mining. As the world moves away from coal, states like West Virginia are struggling to adapt to job loss in the sector and fear that they will be disproportionately hurt by an energy transition. Its politics are heavily directed by coal, but despite opposition from the governor and a powerful coal lobby, the coal miners union and even some Republicans are indicating that they are ready to address coal pollution and climate change. Natural gas is poised to take the place of coal, with the state producing more natural gas than coal for the first time in 2018, with most of that production exported to neighboring states

 
West Virginia does not have a state-wide climate adaptation plan, and only a modest renewable energy sector that powered, in 2018, approximately 5% of the state’s electricity generation. The mountainous terrain is well suited to hydropower and also hosts windfarms on the ridges in the east. Natural gas contributed a little over 2%. The bulk of its own electricity comes from coal — 92%.
 

West Virginia is the most flood prone state in the US, with a State of Emergency issued almost every year until 2019 when a State of Emergency issued in October was for a severe drought.

West Virginia's Climate || U.S. CLIMATE TOUR

CURRENT NEWS

KEY RESOURCES

West Virginia State Profile and Energy Estimates

10/10/21
West Virginia is the nation's fifth-largest energy producer and has abundant fossil energy and renewable resources. Located in the center of the Appalachian Mountain region, West Virginia's boundaries follow the region's mountain ridges, valleys, and…

Energy State Bill Tracking Database

09/10/21
The searchable Energy Storage Legislation Database displays information in interactive maps and charts, tracking state activity from 2017 to the present.

Environment and Natural Resources State Bill Tracking Database

09/01/21
The National Conference of State Legislatures tracks environment and natural resources bills that have been introduced in the 50 states, territories and Washington, D.C.

Roadmap for Solar on Mine Lands

05/26/21
This report lays out a roadmap for West Virginia to build upon its legacy as a domestic energy provider by capitalizing upon the vast land base of former surface coal mines as sites for new…

About Office of Energy

10/20/20
The West Virginia Office of Energy is responsible for the formulation and implementation of fossil, renewable and energy efficiency initiatives designed to advance energy resource development opportunities and provide energy services to businesses, communities and…

The First National Flood Risk Assessment

10/06/20
The First Street Foundation Flood Model represents the culmination of decades of research and development made possible by building upon existing knowledge and frameworks regularly referenced in the identification of flood risk.

The Impacts of Climate Change and the Trump Administration’s Anti-Environmental Agenda in West Virginia

09/19/20
Between 2017 and 2019, West Virginia experienced three severe storms. The damages of these events led to losses of at least $1 billion.

State-by-State: Climate Change in West Virginia

08/07/20
Climate and Energy Polling in West Virginia

Wind Energy in West Virginia

04/20/20
Find wind data and information in West Virginia, including maps, capacity, ordinances, and more

West Virginia Center on Climate Change

04/14/20
West Virginians are increasingly affected by the crisis of human-caused global warming and climate change.  To address this challenge, West Virginians need science-based research, education, communication, dialogue, advocacy, policy, and action.  The mission of the…

Central Appalachian Summit Mesonet

04/10/20
The Virginia Tech Department of Geography has begun the development of a regional mountaintop mesonet in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia and West Virginia, and the Apogee TS-100 aspirated radiation shield is being used to…

MORE NEWS

Which States Are the Most Environmentally Friendly?

By Sarah Lozanova   05/05/22  
A majority of Americans see the effects of climate change in their own communities and believe the federal government should do more to stop them. Despite growing concern about the climate crisis, some states are…

Mountain Valley Pipeline, a litmus test for big projects, is delayed again

By Anya Litvak  Photo: Heather Rousseau , AP   05/04/22  
Equitrans Midstream Corp. has again delayed the start date for its 303-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline and raised its estimated cost to $6.6 billion, more than twice the original estimate.

Another delay and cost increase announced for Mountain Valley Pipeline

By Laurence Hammack   05/03/22  
Mountain Valley Pipeline will again seek new permits that have twice been cast aside by the courts, delaying completion to the second half of 2023 and boosting the project’s cost to $6.6 billion.

JOE MANCHIN IS UP TO HIS USUAL SHIT: CLIMATE CHANGE EDITION

By Eric Lutz  Photo: Mandel Ngan , Getty Images   05/02/22  
He’s at it again. Joe Manchin, the self-appointed gatekeeper of his party’s agenda in the evenly-divided Senate, is once again making noise about the potential for a bipartisan deal to address energy and the climate.…

Manchin energy mantra collides with reality in W.Va.

By Scott Waldman  Photo: Francis Chung , E&E News   04/26/22  
When Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) explains why he has blocked key parts of the president’s climate agenda, he often points to his support for an “all-of-the-above energy” strategy. In recent months, Manchin sank President Joe…

Former West Virginia coal mine to become solar farm

By Tyler Arnold   04/15/22  
SEVA West Virginia will develop 3,000 acres of the former Hobet mining site in Boone and Lincoln Counties into a solar farm. The counties are in southern West Virginia. The company is partnering with the…

Biden’s ‘cost of carbon’ policy survives court challenge

By Kevin McGill  Photo: Evan Vucci , Reuters   04/14/22  
In a victory for President Joe Biden, a federal appeals court Thursday refused to revisit its March decision reviving administration plans to account for potential damage from greenhouse gas emissions when creating rules for pollution-generating…

WV is the least green state, study says

By Shayla Klein   04/13/22  
West Virginia ranks low in percent of renewable energy consumption and energy consumption per capita. It ranks average in air quality, soil quality, and gasoline consumption per capita. In general categories, the state ranks 48th…

Coal is Still King in West Virginia, but Solar Power is Coming on Strong

By Tina Casey  Photo: Walter Martin , Unsplash   04/13/22  
When a U.S. senator with a personal stake in the coal business deploys his position in Congress to support fossil energy interests, that’s no surprise. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia is a case…
AP

Arrests at WVa protest denouncing Manchin coal industry ties

Photo: Eric Cravey , AP   04/11/22  
Grassroots groups blocking the entrance to a West Virginia power plant denounced Sen. Joe Manchin’s ties to the coal industry, and several arrests were made. Dozens of protesters rallied Saturday outside the front gate of…

Update: Supreme Court to weigh EPA authority on greenhouse pollutants

By Lexi Smith   02/09/22  
The Supreme Court in late February is to hear West Virginia v. EPA, a case challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gasses as pollutants. This site in November explored best- and worst-case…

Manchin’s strategy isn’t climate denial — it’s craftier

By Chelsea Harvey  Photo: Chip Somodevilla , Getty Images   12/23/21  
Sen. Joe Manchin isn’t a climate denier — at least not in the traditional sense. He doesn’t deny the existence of human-caused climate change.

It is time for every one of us to call, write or email our senators and representatives.

By Christopher Flavelle  Photo: Erin Schaff   10/18/21  
As the senator thwarts Democrats’ major push to reduce warming, new data shows West Virginia is more exposed to worsening floods than anywhere else in the country.

Democrats seek corporate, wealthy tax hikes for $3.5T plan

By Lisa Mascaro and Marcy Gordon  Photo: J.Scott Applewhite   09/13/21  
House Democrats unveiled a sweeping proposal Monday for tax hikes on big corporations and the wealthy to fund President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion rebuilding plan, as Congress speeds ahead to shape the far-reaching package that touches…

Counties most concerned about climate change in West Virginia

By Stacker   09/05/21  
Nationally, 72% of Americans believe global warming is happening. But when public opinion researchers zoom in on Americans, they find that attitudes and opinions about climate change can vary drastically from county to county—even when those…

West Virginia’s climate has warmed by 2.17° F since 1970

By Stacker  Photo: : StormTracker 13 Meteorologist, Joe Fitzwater and 13 News, Michael Magee   08/28/21  
Just a degree or two degrees hotter doesn’t seem like a lot. You would barely notice the change on a sunny afternoon, or in the warmth of a cup of coffee. But over time, it’s…

We asked WV’s congressional delegation to outline their plan to combat the climate crisis. They punted.

By Ian Karbal  Photo: Wigwam Jones , Flickr   08/18/21  
A United Nations report has offered the starkest warning about climate change yet: The climate is changing quickly, causing more severe weather events like heat waves, droughts and tropical storms that have come to dominate our headlines…

Energy plans will benefit West Virginia according to WVU College of Law

By Sam Kirk   08/17/21  
Infrastructure plans surrounding renewable energy will benefit West Virginia according to new analysis. The Center for Energy and Sustainable Development at the West Virginia University College of Law has determined that energy infrastructure incentives proposed in complementary plans from…

Earth To Senator Joe Manchin: Geothermal Energy. That’s It. That’s The Message.

By Tina Casey   07/16/21  
The US has yet to tap its vast geothermal energy resources, and a movement is finally afoot to kick the domestic industry into high gear. That includes the iconic coal and gas producing state of…

The Weekly Dispatch

By Karim Doumar   03/27/21  
Hi everybody, I’m Karim Doumar, an audience editor at ProPublica, filling in for Logan this week. Welcome back to the Weekly Dispatch. If you followed the passage of President Joe Biden’s stimulus bill, you know…

Why West Virginia is central to Biden’s climate crisis plans

By Bill Weir   01/27/21  
(CNN)Joe Manchin once shot a hole in the climate-saving plan of his own party. Literally.

Construction of 115MW wind farm in West Virginia started

01/26/21  
Clearway Energy Group (Clearway) and West Virginia Governor Jim Justice have announced that construction has commenced on Black Rock, a 115MW wind farm that spans Grant and Mineral counties in West Virginia, USA.

Clearway Awards EPC Contract for West Virginia Wind Farm

By Matthew Mercure   01/26/21  
Clearway Energy Group, a developer and operator of clean energy projects, has selected the Bechtel-Reed & Reed joint venture to build its Black Rock wind farm in Grant and Mineral counties, W. Va. The new…

One coal state senator holds the key to Biden’s ambitious climate agenda. And it’s not McConnell.

By Sarah Kaplan and Dino Grandoni  Photo by Astrid Riecken   01/26/21  
He’s a coal country native, born to a family of mining town mayors. As West Virginia governor, he sued the Environmental Protection Agency. He has scuttled efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, criticized the Paris climate agreement…

Coal-dependent West Virginia gets a $200 million wind farm

By Michelle Lewis   01/26/21  
First, let’s check out West Virginia’s new wind farm. Construction is underway on the $200 million Black Rock Wind project. It consists of 23 turbines that produce 5 megawatts each on the Grant-Mineral county line,…

New report suggests WV’s electric utilities among those far behind on mitigating climate impact

By Mike Tony   01/25/21  
A report released by an environmental nonprofit Monday suggests that electric utilities have a long way to work toward their clean energy goals.

Energy plays an important role in West Virginia economy

By Steve Roberts   01/25/21  
West Virginia businesses, residents, and communities all benefit when our economy is strong and thriving.

A West Virginia City’s Rising Fortunes Widen the Political Divide

By Kris Maher And Aaron Zitner  Photo by Kristian Thacker   01/24/21  
Atop a hill just west of this university town stands a gleaming 400-acre entertainment and recreation complex, converted in recent years from a former coal mine.

West Virginia Republican Senator criticizes President Biden’s first executive actions

By Katie Rhee   01/22/21  
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WDVM) — Just hours before now President Joe Biden’s Inauguration Ceremony, Republican West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito criticized one of his executive orders including the Keystone XL pipeline.

Change at White House could mean change on future of fossil fuels in West Virginia

By Mark Curtis   01/21/21  
CHARLESTON, WV (WTRF) — The change of administrations will likely mark a huge shift in U.S. energy policy, and that could have a big impact on Appalachian States that produce coal and natural gas. For…

Electric resource plans suggest hotly contested path to WV’s energy future

By Mike Tony   01/16/21  
Electric utilities’ resource plans are intended to shed more light than heat, but answers about coal in the latest state filings can be difficult to divine.

America’s Newest National Park Is Also the First in West Virginia

By Olivia Rosane   01/07/21  
The U.S. is beginning the new year with a new national park.  

Tax relief agreement approved for solar power project in Falling Waters, W.Va.

By Matthew Umstead   01/07/21  
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A 750-acre solar energy production project is being eyed for the DuPont Potomac River Works property in Falling Waters, W.Va.

Raleigh Chamber supports solar farm

By Jessica Farrish   08/29/20  
The Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce, sitting in a historic coal mining region, has come out in favor of a proposed solar farm in Raleigh County, endorsing diversification of energy sources, including renewable energy options,…

‘Evolution In People’s Thinking’: Solar Arrives in W.Va.

By Miranda Willson   08/28/20  
Renewable energy has historically faced opposition in coal-rich West Virginia. Coal powered 92% of the state’s electricity in 2018, while renewables accounted for just 5% of the state’s electricity mix. But this spring, the West…

Trump Administration announces USDA funding for energy efficiency in West Virginia

By Sam Haines   08/25/20  
The Trump Administration announced on Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $250,000 in energy efficiency funding with the Mister Bee Potato Chip Company in West Virginia. According to a release from…

On This West Virginia Morning, A Push For Renewable Jobs In Appalachia

08/24/20  
On this West Virginia Morning, we discuss the idea of a “just transition” in Appalachia. The show begins with a pitch from Democrats last week during the Democratic National Convention to reach net zero greenhouse…

Cities With the Highest Flood Risk in Every State

By Andrew Lisa   08/23/20  
Floods accounted for three of the 14 natural disasters that caused at least $1 billion in damage in the United States in 2019. In total, flooding impacted 14 million Americans last year and put another…

Coal country envisions paths forward in manufacturing, reclamation and renewables

By Mason Adams and Dustin Bleizeffer   08/18/20  
The blue rubber rafts shriek as they slide down steep metal rails, each guided by a crew that will soon be floating down a 9-mile stretch of river, replete with Class III, IV and V…

Life After Coal: The Decline and Rise of West Virginia Coal Country

By Eric Scheuch  Photo: Kartografia/Flickr CC   08/07/20  
Areas formerly reliant on fossil fuel extraction can reinvent themselves and remain relevant in a decarbonizing economy. West Virginia shows that ignoring the need for that transition for too long results in unnecessary pain.

Chris Hamilton: Renewable energy doesn’t need its tax credits

By Chris Hamilton   05/28/20  
Most people do not realize that for more than 40 years the federal government has been subsidizing the development of wind and solar energy to produce electricity. So far, federal subsidies for renewable energy total…

Southern Power purchases 56 MW West Virginia wind facility from Invenergy

By Chris Galford   05/27/20  
The facility consists of 20 turbines that began operation earlier this month. Under a 12-year power purchase agreement, Southern Power has become the majority owner. The associated energy credits will be sold to a customer.…

Southern Power Acquires West Virginia Wind Facility

By Michael Bates   05/21/20  
The electricity and associated renewable energy credits generated by the facility are being sold under a 12-year power purchase agreement. Southern Power will be the majority owner. Invenergy will retain a minority ownership position, and…

Hull Street Energy acquires WV hydroelectric plant

05/12/20  
The interests were acquired from Enel Green Power North America and GE Energy Financial Services.

Climate change could bring consequences to West Virginia in the future

By Veronica Ogbe   04/06/20  
“The coolest thing about this problem is it’s something that all of us can have an affect on," Crayton said. "There are a lot of problems in this world that I can’t do anything personally,…

Passage Of Utility Solar Bill Expands Renewables In W.Va. For Some

By Brittany Patterson   03/24/20  
During the 2020 state legislative session, we asked you what energy and environment issues were on your mind. We got a lot of great responses, but one area in particular stood out — many of…

In Coal-Heavy W.Va., Senate Advances Utility Solar Bill

By Brittany Patterson   02/14/20  
The West Virginia Commerce Department requested the bipartisan bill. Officials there said West Virginia's lack of solar energy is a detriment to attracting some new businesses to the state, as increasingly large companies require access…

Experts Weigh In On Reality Of Renewable Energy In WV

By Clarissa Cottrill   02/09/20  
From presidential races to local and state legislation, the issue of climate change is at the forefront, with many pushing for more renewable energy sources, especially in places like West Virginia with a long history…

Solar Supporters Make Economic Case For Legalizing Third-Party Installation

By Brittany Patterson   01/09/20  
PPAs allow third-party developers to install solar panels on residential or business property at little cost to the property owner. The developer sells the power generated to the host — saving them money on their…

Climate Change Threatens a Giant of West Virginia’s Landscape, and It’s Rippling Through Ecosystems and Lives

By Kate Mishkin, Charleston Gazette-Mail   11/24/19  
'We lose this, and we lose that,' a former state scientist says, 'and what's unique and beautiful starts to fall apart.'