CHARLESTON -- West Virginia is in a unique situation in the world of power, according to a group of businesses that say new power lines are required for the state to have a bright future.

West Virginians for Reliable Power - a coalition of power companies, unions and coal companies - held a press conference Nov. 27 to make the push for new power lines.

Among those speaking were Charles Bayless, a former electric company CEO and current president of WVU Tech; Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association; and Roy Smith, secretary-treasurer of the West Virginia State Building & Construction Trades Council.

"West Virginia is in a unique situation as an energy state," Smith said. "We have a wonderful opportunity to be more of an energy player than we are.

"New power lines can offer broader markets for our coal, gas, wind and other energy industries and add needed jobs to our economy."

Bayless explained how explained how electricity works and how the major 2003 Northeast blackout happened.

"Our state is blessed with tremendous natural resources," Raney said. "However, our energy resources don't do anyone any good if the transmission infrastructure isn't in place to move the value-added product -- electricity -- to where it's needed."

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