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Update: Renewables Could Bring Thousands of Jobs to WV

The Center for Energy and Sustainable Development at the West Virginia University College of Law updated its annual report which shows that pending federal legislation would be cost effective in advancing the state’s transition to renewable energy, and could create thousands of jobs and potentially save consumers money. 

The 2021 report, titled “West Virginia’s Energy Future: Build Back Better,” was produced in partnership with Downstream Strategies, Synapse Energy Economics, and GridLab. It presents “a plan to ramp up renewable energy to decrease costs, reduce risks, and strengthen economic opportunities in the Mountain State,” and shows how by 2035, West Virginia could generate more than 80% of its electricity from solar and wind, up from 70% in the 2020 report.

According to the updated report – which takes into account the potential impact of the initial American Jobs Plan and American Jobs in Energy Manufacturing Act sponsored by Senator Joe Manchin – key provisions would “catalyze an additional $1.7 billion in manufacturing investments in West Virginia; create 3,250-4,350 manufacturing jobs in West Virginia, plus 9,300-12,400 jobs created indirectly from the manufacturing investment; and, generate $610-810 million in additional annual labor income across all sectors in West Virginia,including $290-390 million in the state’s manufacturing sector.”

The report highlights six key benefits of moving quickly to increase the focus on renewables and energy efficiency, noting that as enacted, these provisions would:

  • Cost $855 million less through 2040 than West Virginia’s current trajectory for power resources
  • Cause a net increase in employment in West Virginia equivalent to 3,508 full-time jobs through 2040
  • Grow total earnings for West Virginia residents by $172 million annually (on average from 2021-2040)
  • Cause $20.9 billion of investment in new power plants in West Virginia, including 10,600 megawatts of solar, 5,300 megawatts of wind, and 4,984 megawatts of energy storage installations through 2040
  • Expand state GDP by $322 million annually (on average from 2021-2040).
  • Achieve 79.4 percent emission-free electricity generation in 2030 and continue to increase thereafter

The original story can be found here.


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