A recent Appalachian Regional Commission report, “Energy Efficiency in Appalachia,” estimates that it would require the construction of 40 new coal-fired power plants to keep up with the region’s projected increase in energy consumption through 2030. The report cites investment in energy efficiency and conservation as a practical and beneficial alternative.
For perspective, it would require hundreds of miles of ridge line wind turbine development to offset the need for even one relatively small coal-fired power plant.
Abstract of the ARC report:
The Appalachian Region’s energy consumption is expected to increase 28 percent between 2006 and 2030, compared with a 19 percent increase forecast for the United States as a whole. Research indicates that strong policy interventions will be needed to promote energy-efficient purchases and practices that could help the Region meet its future energy needs while ensuring its continued economic and environmental health. This study assesses the long-term energy-efficiency gains that could be achieved by implementing an ambitious package of energy-efficiency policies throughout Appalachia. It examines the breadth of energy-efficiency resources in Appalachia; the time frame for harnessing these resources; and the policies and programs that could most effectively translate these resources into energy savings, as well as the impact those policies and programs could have on jobs and wages in Appalachia. The engineering-economic modeling conducted in the study concludes that such policies could result in significant energy savings and positively impact the Appalachian economy.