Monday, February 1, 2010


I was looking through my archives tonight and found this photo of the Gen. James M. Gavin Power Plant at Cheshire, Ohio. I could write a long, long piece on this place, but my musings took me far from the plant itself.

A lot of people here in the Huntington, W.Va., area think of this region as an education center or a medical hub. Perhaps true, but more than that it's a region that is heavy into energy.

If you draw a circle with a 50-mile radius with Huntington at its center, you come up with maybe six big coal-fired power plants, four gas-fired power plants of varying sizes and several hydroelectric plants on the Ohio and Kanawha rivers. You have an oil refinery and several natural gas pipelines. You have businesses devoted to making machinery to service coal mines.

And none of that counts the coal that moves through here via barge and rail.

A few months ago I found some maps of the largest power lines in the three states of this region, and I was surprised how many of them come through the Huntington WV-Ashland Ky-Ironton OH area.

It's one of those things that is easy to overlook, you know? Energy companies don't draw a lot of attention to themselves normally. But it's something people in my part of the Ohio River valley need to remember every now and then.