Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Kentucky coal company announces plans to build the state’s largest solar farm

A dump truck moves dirt and rock from a mountaintop removal coal mine in Kentucky. CREDIT: AP Photo/Roger Alford

Berkeley Energy Group, the coal company behind the project, billed it as the first large-scale solar farm in the Appalachian region, which has been hit hard by the decades-long decline in the U.S. coal industry. The company, in partnership with EDF Renewable Energy, is currently conducting feasibility studies for the project on two reclaimed strip mines, both located in the eastern part of the state. Berkeley Energy Group estimates that the solar farm could produce as much as 50 or 100 megawatts of electricity, which would be five to ten times the size of Kentucky’s largest solar farm.

As a candidate, President Trump seized on the high unemployment among coal miners in Appalachia, promising that he would bring coal mining back if elected president. In office, he has signed a handful of orders and laws that he argues will help bolster the declining industry — though energy experts, coal executives, and even Republican politicians contend that the market for coal looks bleak and that Trump’s orders will do little to change that.

At the same time, renewable energy employment has been increasing across the country. According to a Sierra Club analysis published earlier this year, clean energy employs more people that fossil fuel jobs by more than 2.5 to one — and renewable energy jobs exceed fossil fuel jobs in almost every state. In recent years, solar and wind jobs have grown at a rate 12 times faster than the rest of the U.S. economy. Read entire story >>

Reprinted with permission from ThinkProgress


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