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Commentary: Keeping workers and communities in mind
The transition to a stronger and greener economy must happen “in such a way that grows family-sustaining jobs and makes our communities healthier and more resilient.”
Coalfield communities seek policy redress in energy transition
“The fact that coal isn’t coming back doesn’t mean that Appalachia has no future,” said Brandon Dennis, CEO of Coalfield Development Corporation, one of several community advocates who spoke to a congressional panel last week.
Hazard, Kentucky: Retooling for a post-coal economy
At the vanguard of a regional push for a “post-coal Appalachia,” the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development seeks a paradigm that is “more sustainable, more diverse, more equitable and more resilient.”
Report: A fair transition requires publicly funded justice for all
A World Bank report underscores the role of public policy in managing a post-coal transition, concluding that governments must bear costs “of physical closure of mines and labor transition programs.”
Op-ed: Just transition for rural Colorado
A labor leader lauds Denver’s mayor for an initiative that aims to make the city a renewable energy bastion over the next generation, but urges leaders to invest in rural communities, too, where railroad employees, pipe fitters and power plant specialists are being displaced by the electricity-production transition occurring nationally. “Workers who have toiled in the mines, hauled our coal, and operated our power plants for decades deserve our support as we move towards new ways of generating energy,” writes Joshua Downer of the AFL-CIO.
Midwest receives greater transition focus
JTF, long active in Appalachia and in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana, sees the Illinois Basin, which underlies much of the state, as an area of growing need. “It’s important to note that what a just transition looks like is different in different places,” said Heidi Binko, JTF’s executive director.
Commentary: North American utility shift driven by ‘good business sense’
A recent industry survey has 80 percent of 600 utility executives in the U.S. and Canada expecting electricity generation markets to continue to embrace clean energy models in a move driven by business practicalities. “Programs to help customers save energy, and solar and wind energy are cheaper in most places than almost any other resource to meet customer energy needs, including coal and gas, and getting cheaper all the time,” writes the author.
IEEFA Update: The Saudi Arabia of Solar? American Indian Country
Energy Transition Openings Now in the Four-Corners Region of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah
Biggest Utility in Kentucky Sees Coal Accounting for Little of Its Future Electricity Generation
PPL, the company that owns Kentucky Utilities and Louisville Gas and Electric has published a transition analyst in which it sees natural gas and renewables accounting for 80 percent of its electricity: “Just by virtue of [economics], you’re going to have substantial reductions and when you look out to 2050, substantial retirements of our coal-fired units will have happened by then.”
Op-Ed: Virginia Can Capitalize on New Energy Opportunities
Virginia lags its neighboring states in embracing transformational market forces and developing a modern energy economy. “We already know what the status quo costs our communities. But we haven’t seen what happens when we invest in local advanced energy businesses and jobs.”
Op-Ed: As Transition Unfolds, Local Ownership Will be Key
An op-ed writer in New Mexico makes the case against utility monopoly control of fast-growing solar energy resources: “The promise of the advanced energy economy goes beyond a cleaner environment and more sustainable power—it’s also about building a more diversified, resilient and competitive economy.”
Doubts in West Virginia Over Coal’s Future
While a hearing this week on repeal of the federal Clean Power Plant drew vocal support in West Virginia, some residents used it as an opportunity to talk about a post-coal future. “People in Appalachia are starting to realize that we need to start thinking about additional ways to have economic development and economic activity,” says the director of Energy Efficient West Virginia. “While coal is going to continue to be part of the economy, I don’t think that anybody is under the illusion that it is going to be the main driver of the economy.”
A 22-District School Cooperative ‘Aims to Remake Coal Communities’
The Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative, which includes 22 school districts, is promoting new possibilities for a region that has been overly reliant on coal mining. “It’s called the resource curse in economics … When you have a company town, what tends to happen over time is you crowd out the potential of other industry to make a case for their future.”
Buffalo’s Transition Turns on Clean Energy Economy
PUSH Buffalo, a community group focused on urban development, is promoting career development in the growing clean energy economy “as the world moves to more efficient, renewable, distributed energy sources.”
A Move in Congress to Invest in Coal Country
Three members of Congress are co-sponsoring the America Wins Act, a proposal to invest $1 trillion in U.S. infrastructure with a special focus on communities hard hit by the coal industry downturn. The bill would be funded by a tax on carbon emissions, and would earmark $5 billion a year for economic transition.
Utility Executives See Transition Continuing
“‘Sometimes you have to let go of your past’ to prepare for the future’” said one member of a panel of utility executives who see “a tremendous movement away from coal.” Among the companies represented this week at a Florida forum hosted by the Edison Electric Institute: PNM of New Mexico, Hawaii Electric Industries, El Paso Electric and Alliant Energy of Wisconsin.
Commentary: Planning for a Future Beyond Coal
The challenges facing Colstrip, Mont., are a microcosm of those seen in similar communities nationally: “Coal states across the country face a similar future, and while heel-dragging may help coal company owners maximize their profit in the short-term, it does nothing for coal miners and their families.”
Pennsylvania Coal Town Resembles Many Left in Transition Lurch
Homer City, Penn., is typical of communities facing difficult economic transition as its coal-fired power plant, faces likely closure. “Reality has triumphed over wishful thinking,” says one local coal broker.
Ohio Businesses Oppose Bill to Slow Electricity-Generation
Major companies in Ohio, an important consumer of Appalachian coal, are fighting a legislative proposal to slow the state’s transition to clean energy. Among them: Gap Inc., Ikea North America, Nestle, and Cliff Bar & Co. Ohio has also become a hotbed for companies that are turning entirely to renewable energy, including Facebook and General Motors.
Op-Ed: One Community’s Post-Coal Transition
The president of an upstate New York teachers’ association explains how the town of Tonawanda united educational interests, government leaders, labor, and other activists “to close the revenue gap” after NRG closed the Huntley Power Generating Station.