A series of public meetings that could shape the state’s long-term energy plan has wrapped up with a lot of talk about alternatives. The fifty-member state steering committee that has been assembled to recommend a comprehensive plan for the state’s energy future has held seven meetings and now starts putting together a report that’s to go to the Governor by next May 21.

Wind FarmEnergy Division Director Lewis Mills says many of those at meeting with the committee want to see greater emphasis on renewables and alternate sources of energy. He says trends are running in their direction, but coal will remain the dominant fuel for energy generation for a long time.  “I think we will increase quite a bit in the mid-term. But starting with 80 percent of our energy generated from coal, it will take quite some time to make any substantial inroads in that,” he says.

He says prices are dropping dramatically for solar and wind. But he says a lot of money and resources are invested in coal generation, and that means quickly switching to wind or solar power would be cost-prohibitive.

But Mills does think there will be a shift to other technologies over time.

AUDIO: Mills interview 1:13