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Opinion: Clean energy can light a new path forward for former coal communities
Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm highlights clean energy development opportunities in transitioning energy communities.
Opinion: To Seize ‘Unique Moment,’ Rural Areas Need Help Building Capacity
Federal stimulus spending and healthy state budgets are creating the chance to make real improvements in broadband, healthcare, transportation, and more. Let’s help rural communities make the most of the opportunity.
Coal capital Becker could be home to state’s largest solar project
The Sherburne County Generating Station Becker, Minn. will shut down by 2030. Xcel Energy is proposing a 460-megawatt solar project to replace some of the electricity produced by the Sherco coal plant.
One West Virginia community ponders life after a coal-fired power plant
St. Marys has benefited from the coal-fired Pleasants Power Station for decades; now its residents wonder what will happen when the plant closes or is sold next year.
USDA’s Rural Partners Network Targets Communities with Greatest Infrastructure Needs
“[The field staff] are going to be there so they can work on a day-to-day basis with the people to identify what the vision is for the area and how federal programs can best make that vision a reality"
Op-Ed: WV can't waste chance to attract young people
Alex Weld of Generation West Virginia shares perspective on the opportunity for West Virginia to attract new residents now.
New State Commission To Connect Federal Dollars With Coalfield Communities
A new bill in West Virginia will leverage federal infrastructure invesments to support grant writing and matching funds requirements for local communities.
Feds: We’ll find 'right fit’ for Wyoming coal community grant proposals
Wyoming communities bracing for coal production downturns and coal-fired power plant closures will receive support from assorted federal “revitalization” grant programs, despite being shut out of the initial round of funding in December, according to the leader of President Joe Biden’s coal communities effort.
Federal funding highlights need for coal communities like Price to evolve
Federal abandoned mine lands investments in Utah have communities thinking of how to create sustainable developlment and leverage their unique assets amid coal closures.
Economic development leaders plan to build more resilient communities across southern W.Va.
Seeking federal funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Appalachian Climate Technologies Coalition launched last month in Huntington to spur economic development and build more resilient communities across southern W.Va.
House Creates Committee to Revitalize West Virginia's Coal Communities
West Virginia delegates created a new committee to develop policy recommendations intended to revitalize the state’s communities left reeling by the coal industry’s decline.
In the Southwest and Appalachia, Indigenous Organizers Want a New Economy for Their Coalfield Communities
Community organizations across the mesas and mountains are grappling with the transition happening as coal employment continues to decline.
Unlocking the Transition: Politicians tout renewable energy jobs for ex-fossil fuel workers, but it's not so simple
Experts say renewable energy jobs don't always appeal — or just aren't available — to workers who are losing their jobs to the closure of coal mines and power plants.
Reinventing coal country: Reclaiming America’s abandoned mine lands
As innovative models for reclamation unfold, and federal funding nears, there is new hope for the communities that once depended on coal mining.
Opinion: Once-in-a-generation Opportunity for West Virginia
West Virginia Delegate Evan Hansen advocates for infrastructure and budget legislation that include significant funding to support transition priorities and economic development in coal communities.
Opinion: Revitalizing the Southern Tier with the Help of the Appalachian Regional Commission
The Appalachian Regional Commission’s investments coupled with state programs are key to spurring economic development in rural areas of New York, according to Governor Kathy Hochul.
Opinion: Federal, local efforts seek to help coal communities
The executive director of the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority in West Virginia discusses the potential of new economic development pathways for coal country in the context of increased federal investments in the region.
Coalfield Development Nears Completion of Historic Solar Project
The 122 KW project, located at a Coalfield facility in Huntington, will be the largest solar project completed by a nonprofit organization in West Virginia.
The Cultural Aspect of Coal Transition
As communities navigate coal’s decline, local leaders see a need to combine cultural change with economic development in order to build long-term prosperity.
Opinion: Infrastructure can help unite urban and rural frontline communities
Underserved residents, whether in cities or remote regions, should build bridges and stand together.
Report: Billions Needed to Support Coal Workers
A new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Utility Workers Union of America estimates that coal workers need $33 billion to $83 billion in wage replacement, job training, and other types of support.
Virginia Coal Equipment Manufacturer Finds New Market in Clean Energy
With the support of community leaders, the family business is weathering coal’s decline by pivoting to solar storage—and creating jobs in the process.
Retired German Coal Plant To Become New Hydrogen Hub
After closing the plant in 2020, Vattenfall AB will repurpose the plant for large-scale hydrogen production using wind energy.
Craig, Colorado, Creates New Economic Development Role to Implement Community Economic Development Programs
Craig, CO creates new economic development role to implement community economic development programs. El Pomar Foundation provided resources for the position, as well as a Moffat County transition roadmap
Mayors Release “Marshall Plan for Middle America”
The $60 billion plan—developed by mayors from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia—calls for increased federal investment in clean energy-based economic and workforce development to help heartland communities dependent on fossil fuel industries.
Opinion: Envisioning A New Day in Southwest Virginia
“We’ve taken great pride in powering America for generations, and we believe that federal commitments and investment will bring our new vision to fruition. This new way of thinking and working will once again bring employment opportunities back to the heart of the Appalachian Mountains.”
A Colorado Town Sees Opportunities Despite Announced Coal Closures and Pandemic
Tourism, retail, and real estate markets have grown in the town of Craig, providing a spark to its transition planning efforts.
Former Coal-Mining Town in Appalachian Ohio Seeks to Reinvent Itself
Drawing on local strengths, the town of Shawnee is combining outdoor recreation and downtown revitalization to create economic opportunity.
Mine Reclamation Projects Stimulate Wyoming’s Pandemic-Stricken Economy
The state expects to complete 96 projects, generating a total of $201 million for local economies, by the end of the year.
Op-Ed: Who’s in Charge of Rural Utah’s Future?
“Would our state benefit more from hundreds of rural community development grants than by pouring $53 million into the pockets of out-of-state coal port developers?”
Brandon Dennison of Coalfield Development Shares His Approach to Community Economic Development in West Virginia
“We don’t want to replace that one industry with another industry. We want to have a diversified economy that works for all kinds of people with lots of different skills and backgrounds and talents.”
Coal Country Envisions Paths Forward in Manufacturing, Reclamation, and Renewables
Communities in West Virginia and Wyoming are developing diverse industries based on their local strengths.
Report Explores Federal Economic Development Policy’s Potential for Coal Communities
The first report in a new transition policy series analyzes key federal programs and their role in supporting community economic development.
Minnesota Communities Prepare for the End of Coal-Powered Generation
Local officials and nonprofits are exploring solutions to the economic impacts of future coal plant closures
Report Finds High Job Creation Potential for Reclaiming the West’s Coal Mines
The Western Organization of Resource Councils estimates that coal mine reclamation “could generate approximately 4,893 to 9,786 job-years” across four western states.
Millions of job gains likely in new energy economies
“More jobs will be created than those that are lost,” concludes the author of a study that finds net gains for economies that embrace the global shift to cleaner energy.
Report: Opportunity in Navajo ‘post-coal reclamation’ economy
Land reclamation and site remediation around the coal-fired Navajo Generation Station and Kayenta Mine will require years to complete and likely employ hundreds of former plant and mine workers.
Former coal-field town sees Main Street revitalization in visitor industry
Tazewell, Ky., has hit on a post-coal tourism-development niche by promoting a scenic highway that draws a growing number of visitors. An estimated 60,000 “motorcycle and sports car enthusiasts” came through the town last year, an almost fourfold increase since 2013. The traffic has allowed new retail businesses to open along a main street that was all but abandoned a generation ago.
Pushback in West Virginia against Trump’s coal-subsidy plan
One clear result of a White House plan to subsidize failing coal plants: Bigger utility bills for households, businesses, and industry in West Virginia. Skeptics of the proposed bailout include officials with the Public Service Commission’s Consumer Advocate Division, the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development at the West Virginia University College of Law, and the Natural Gas Supply Association. The plan “would definitely drive rates up,” one analyst said.
Editorial: Wyoming Deserves a More Diversified Economy
The editorial board of the Casper Star-Tribune has called for a civil discussion around development of an economy that is less susceptible to the energy industry’s boom-and-bust cycle. “In order for Wyoming to flourish, the state must diversify its economy and adjust its tax structure in order to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels and foster positive growth in Wyoming communities,” say the authors. “Economic diversification is crucial for the future of our great state.”
In West Virginia, programs like Refresh Appalachia, Reclaim Appalachia, and the Appalachian Bee Collective are helping former coal workers, and communities, create a path forward. "...the idea is to create a new generation of small-holding Appalachian farmers who will contribute to a larger agricultural community—one that’s appropriately scaled, diversified, and vertically integrated. "
Op-ed: ‘Our people must be the solution’
The president of Kentucky Highlands Investment Corp. describes progress toward economic diversification in Eastern Kentucky, where data shows gains in career education, self-employment, and property-value assessments as education, entrepreneurship, and private-public partnerships begin to offset coal-industry losses. “Our people must be the solution,” writes the author.
Commentary: A Grass-Roots Push Toward Responsible Change
Pushing back against new federal policies aimed at propping up the old U.S. energy economy, local governments are crafting their own electricity-generation strategies, note the authors: “2018 is shaping up to be a year when neighborhoods, towns and cities take control over their own energy destinies, working to promote a just transition to clean energy for all, regardless of income, race or zip code
Study: ‘Tough Task Ahead’ for Coal Country
The Appalachian Regional Commission has published a study by researchers at the University of Tennessee and West Virginia University that documents “a vicious cycle at work” in the decline of the coal industry and its wide-ranging impact on local and regional economies. “Talk of bringing back coal is a distraction from the real work that needs to be done,” said the president of the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development.
In coal country, a flood of money to build other businesses
Grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission support innovative job creation and training efforts in coal communities
Brandon Dennison of Coalfield Development Coorporation discusses creating a new economy for West Virginia
Commentary: Plan to Subsidize Appalachian Coal Mines Won’t Work
A project by Coalfield Development to turn an old car-parts factory in McDowell County, W. Va., into an arts center embodies a shift occurring across Appalachia in spite of misguided plans by the U.S. Energy Department proposal to subsidize coal stockpiling: “These policies make sense only as a kind of political theatre, according to which both the administration and its many supporters agree to pretend that it is possible to return to some mythical glorious past, when brawny American men, rather than machines or foreigners, smelted steel, mined coal and built things on assembly lines. That world is gone—and even in coal country, some have come to grips with its absence.”
$372 Million Lithium-Ion Battery Factory Will Help Diversify East Kentucky’s Economy
A California company plans to build a plant in East Kentucky to make batteries for the burgeoning electric-vehicle market. It will also move its headquarters to the area, bringing in a total of more than 1,000 jobs. State Sen. Ray Jones said the deal is “a game-changer not only for Pikeville and Pike County, but for the entire region.”
A Kentucky Miner and an MIT Tech Researcher Talk
“Agriculture and large-scale manufacturing typically doesn't exist in mountainous areas, so we saw that there was earning potential equivalent to our mining jobs in the tech sector, and that there was a demand for tech workers and that that was a product we could produce here and export over fiber optic cable to the greater market in the world.”
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.”
New Job-Skills Initiative in Eastern Kentucky
The East Kentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute this week began classes aimed at teaching new job skills to former coal miners in Johnson County. “Officials said jobs in the manufacturing industry will pay the same or more as what former coal miners were making,” a local television station reports.