Coal use may be dying out, but coal country is looking for a rebirth and might just find it in a very unexpected way—via solar energy. A Kentucky coal mine is looking to transform itself from a strip mine into a cutting-edge solar energy plant, according to the Courier-Journal. The Berkeley Energy Group and EDF Renewable Energy are exploring what could be “the first large-scale solar project in Appalachia,” which they hope will provide both cheap energy and a lot of jobs to the community.
While the coal companies aren’t quite ready to give up on coal, they are willing to evolve if that means more work and more profits. “I grew up with coal,” Ryan Johns, an executive with Berkeley, an Eastern Kentucky coal company, told the Courier-Journal. “Our company has been in the coal business for 30 years. We are not looking at this as trying to replace coal, but we have already extracted the coal from this area.”
This would not be the first time a coal mine has been transformed into a renewable energy plant—a German company turned a coal mine into “a giant battery that stores excess solar and wind energy“—and hopefully it won’t be the last.
If the project becomes reality, it would bolster the economy in a place desperate for jobs https://t.co/nOwmvBLy2c @heraldleader pic.twitter.com/deHWVwxI6i
— EDF Renewable Energy (@EDFRenewEnergy) April 18, 2017