WELCH, W.Va. — Coal production is rebounding slowly in McDowell County as well as in the state, but with the current surge in worldwide as well as domestic demand, the potential market for coal is being hindered by many factors, from manpower to transportation.
Jason Bostic, vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association, said major power needs here and abroad have placed a premium on thermal coal especially.
“We have an enormous demand nationally now,” he said, as coal-fired plants in this country need coal because stockpiles are low.
If coal production is not ramped up, the result could possibly be blackouts in the summer heat, he said, as power usage could surge.
“It you told me 10 years ago we ever would see coal shortages at power plants in this country I would not have believed it,” Bostic said, adding that the explosion of natural gas prices has also helped turn attention back to less expensive coal as an energy source…