Department of Energy

Courtesy: Shell Chemicals

 

West Virginia lawmakers heard testimony Tuesday from a top Department of Energy official that the federal government is prioritizing building out a petrochemical industry in Appalachia.

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic / Associated Press

Electric utility FirstEnergy Solutions is asking the federal government for an emergency order to keep coal and nuclear plants operating across the Ohio Valley.

In a letter to the U.S. Department of Energy sent Thursday, the utility said the power grid faces grave threats if coal and nuclear plants are allowed to close.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the Environmental Protection Agency’s move to end the Clean Power Plan is the Trump administration’s latest attempt to support the struggling coal industry. The Department of Energy is also pushing a new way to subsidize coal power. But as Glynis Board reports, a new study suggests that market forces -- not regulations -- will still make more coal power plants in the region vulnerable.

The Department of Energy has named a new director for the National Energy Technology Laboratory, which has offices in five states including West Virginia.

The DOE said in a press release that Grace Bochenek  will manage day-to-day operations for more than 1,000 employees from their Pittsburgh office. Those employees work on new technologies to manage and use fossil fuel energy.

Bochenek  has more than 25 years of technical and management experience with the Department of Defense, most recently as the first Chief Technology Officer of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.