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ARC Developing Appalachian Energy "Blueprint"

June 2006


WASHINGTON, June 7, 2006—The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is developing an energy blueprint for Appalachia that will provide a strategic framework for the promotion of new energy-related job opportunities throughout the Region. The blueprint's development was mandated at ARC's February 2006 Governors' Quorum Meeting by the governors of the 13 Appalachian states and the ARC federal co-chair, in response to today's changing energy supply, policy, and use environment.

As envisioned, the blueprint will include an assessment of the current energy landscape and an examination of both non-renewable and renewable energy opportunities, based on the competitive potential of Appalachia's energy resources and current and emerging energy technologies. The framework it will provide will guide the Commission in promoting new energy-related job opportunities in which sustainable energy production, efficiency, and conservation efforts throughout the Region would be highlighted. The blueprint should be completed by late autumn 2006.

To develop the blueprint, the Commission will create an energy advisory council made up of one governor-appointed energy expert from each of the 13 Appalachian states and two federal representatives. Members of this group will use their expertise, ideas, and experience, as well as the information gathered by ARC, to develop regional energy strategies and identify opportunities for ARC and its member states to address the changing energy market environment.

In expressing his support for the energy blueprint, Kentucky governor Ernie Fletcher stated that "emerging energy-generating technologies, including combined cycle, high-tech scrubbers and coal to liquids, are making it much more feasible to increase the use of eastern Appalachian coal for electricity generation." He also noted that it is essential for states to work in a collaborative manner to expand the Region's energy opportunities.

ARC Federal Co-Chair Anne B. Pope stated that Appalachia is "one of the nation's most energy-rich regions" and emphasized the need to look at the entire energy picture in the Region. Describing ARC as an agency through which innovative regional approaches to economic development can and have taken place, she said that the energy blueprint would show "how the Appalachian states, working together on a regional basis, can do much more to capitalize on this broad and changing energy picture."

A key aspect of the blueprint's development will be gathering information from energy experts, the private sector, academia, government, and other stakeholders. In order to do this, ARC has commissioned four research briefs and scheduled three energy roundtables in the Region and one consultation with Appalachia's local development districts.

The four research briefs commissioned for the energy blueprint will demonstrate how national energy policy and market dynamics are likely to affect the development potential of energy resources in the Appalachian Region over the next decade. The briefs will draw on existing information and research on domestic energy resources, technology, and trends, with a focus on Appalachia. They will cover the following topics:

  • Review of Energy Policies and Market Dynamics. An analysis of federal and state energy policy initiatives, regulations, and proposals; prepared by the Keystone Center.
  • Non-renewable Energy Innovation. A review of innovative non-renewable energy resource technologies and an assessment of their application within the Appalachian states; prepared by Global Insight.
  • Renewable Energy and Conservation. A review of all renewable energy sources and an assessment of the resource potential across the Region for each renewable energy source, as well as identification of any significant concentrations of business activity in each business segment; prepared by the Center for Business and Economic Research at Marshall University.
  • Supply Chain Analysis. An analysis of the energy supply chain; prepared by Amy K. Glasmeier, professor of economic geography at Pennsylvania State University and ARC's current John D. Whisman Scholar.

The three energy roundtables, to be facilitated by the Oak Ridge Center for Advanced Studies, will bring together energy technology, economics, and policy experts to discuss how national energy policy and market dynamics are likely to affect the competitive potential of energy resources and job development opportunities in the Appalachian Region over the next decade. Specifically, discussions will include such topics as non-renewable energy sources, renewable energy sources, energy efficiency and conservation, jobs and energy, and economic and community development.

The roundtables will take place at the following locations:

  • Morgantown, West Virginia: Wednesday, June 21, 2006
  • Oak Ridge, Tennessee: Tuesday, June 27, 2006
  • Huntsville, Alabama: Thursday, July 13, 2006

All roundtables will be open to the press. For further information, please call ARC public information officer Louis Segesvary at (202) 884-7771.