Energy. Environment. Economy.

Alan Walker Hasn’t Given Up On Coal

Scott Detrow / StateImpact Pennsylvania

DCED Secretary Alan Walker, promoting Shell's ethane cracker in Beaver County

Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Alan Walker is still bullish on the future of coal, but he’s bearish on state funding for renewable energy. That’s the gist of an interview the onetime coal executive gave the Pittsburgh Business Times:

You’re a former coal guy. Coal’s taken a lot of hits recently and many experts talk about retiring coal plants in the state and eliminating it from the fuel mix in the future. What do you think of that?

“If we do that it would be a huge mistake because it probably would mean we will use natural gas to generate electricity and if do that disproportionately we’ll go through our gas reserves faster than need to. With technology that’s out there now, you can burn coal as cleanly as natural gas.”

Should the state government has a role in promoting renewable energy?

“We’ve seen what happened at the federal level when they tried to do that, and picking winners and losers is a very dangerous thing. As a state, we can match partners – we know there’s a company here, a university there. I think the state could be a facilitator. But the state will not be a major investor in energy. That’s not our role. That moves it away from the market.”


  • Ladderback

    For a man who does not like to pick winners and losers, he’s certainly willing to still do it. Not funding alternative energy and pushing coal (which burns as clean as gas — hah!) IS picking coal (winner) over solar and wind and gas (losers). “Not picking winners and losers” is a crock and a talking point he’s picked up from watching Fox News.

    • DuBois John

      The state not funding energy is not picking winners and losers. Alternative energy is simply NOT affordable, therefore will not be used without funding.

      • Ladderback

        The State is investing in a “Cracker” plant as well as in a battery plant. That is picking winners and losers. You can’t fund one company but not another and still say you’re not picking winners and losers. That State picks them all the time and this time is no different.

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