Former Kentucky coal mine could soon be home to solar

Just a few weeks after the news that the Kentucky Coal Museum installed solar on its roof, we learn that a former strip mine in Kentucky may soon become a large mountaintop solar farm.

Per AP: This undated image provided by the Berkeley Energy Group shows a mountaintop removal site near Pikeville, Kentucky. Photo: Kenny Stanley/Berkeley Energy Group via AP

According to AP, the Berkeley Energy Group, EDF Renewable Energy and former democratic state Auditor Adam Edelen teamed up to propose a large solar installation in Kentucky’s coal country. They’re looking at two mountaintop sites near Pikeville, Kentucky.

The proposed solar farm would generate 50-100 MW of electricity that would then be sold to East Coast power companies.

The potential solar sites were formerly mined by “mountaintop removal,” a technique using blasting and heavy machinery to access coal seams. Berkeley Energy Group is conducting engineering and cost studies on the potential sites to evaluate them for solar power.

Although the president of the Kentucky Coal Association was less than thrilled about the solar opportunity, telling AP that solar-positive policies should be rolled back, officials at EDF Renewable Energy have pledged to hire as many former coal miners as possible to build the solar plant.

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