news by topic
What is an “Energy Community”?
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) offers tax credits to clean-energy projects that are sited within an “energy community.” But how does the IRA define energy communities? And are these communities indeed most vulnerable in the transition to clean energy?
NACo Launches Building Resilient Economies in Coal Communities initiative
Through the support of the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the American Rescue Plan funding, the BRECC initiative will create a knowledge-sharing and peer-learning community of practice to empower local leaders and other champions to develop new ideas, approaches and fundable projects as coal communities seek to retool local and regional economies.
Canary Media: What Does 'Just Transition’ Really Mean?
"A primer on the term advocates use to describe the shift to a clean energy economy that benefits everyone."
‘This is the future’: rural Virginia pivots from coal to green jobs
"This is a great opportunity to learn, great pay, and maybe I’ll be able to stay here in the mountains with my family if solar takes off.”
Opinion: Inflation Reduction Act Benefits: Billions In Just Transition Funding For Coal Communities
"The IRA provides a full suite of tools to move us toward clean electricity, including critical clean energy technology tax credits...And it does it all with an eye toward the energy-dependent and rural communities that need it most.
Opinion: A Future in Clean Energy Transition
Leaders from the United Mine Workers of America and next-gen battery manufacturer SPARKZ discuss a new economic development partnership in West Virginia.
Coal communities are changing, so a project is capturing residents’ stories
An Ohio State team has interviewed miners, power plant employees, and community members.
New Report Released on the POWER Initiative & its Impact on Coal Communities
This report examines implementation of the Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative (2015–2020), established by the Obama administration to assist communities hurt by declines in coal mining and coal-fired electricity generation. It examines the distribution of POWER funds by state, county, project type, and career sectors.
Navajo residents seek 'just and equitable' help after closure of power plant, coal mine
The Navajo Nation and Arizona Public Service established a Just Transition agreement to provide money for the Navajo Nation over 10 years to help address the effects of the closure of power plants. Key aspects of the agreement are now subject to approval by the corporation commission.
Solar, storage projects set to bring jobs, tax revenue to Illinois coal communities
A recent state procurement formalizes plans to put solar and storage on the site of several retired coal plants. The owners will receive grants and higher-value renewable energy credits to finance the projects.
Quitting Oil Income Is Hard, Even for States That Want Climate Action
Dozens of state and local budgets depend heavily on tax revenue from oil, gas and coal to fund schools, hospitals and more. Replacing that money is turning out to be a major challenge in the fight against climate change.
Supreme Court ruling not a clear win for Wyoming coal
The decision limits the EPA’s authority over greenhouse gas emission reduction strategies, but doesn’t protect Wyoming from other states’ policies to kick coal.
The San Juan Basin’s fossil fuel transition slowed by economic and cultural bonds
The region’s history with prosperity in the oil and gas industry looms over conversations about how to diversify its economy.
In WV, a Push to Rebuild Economy from the 'Ground Up'
A new coalition of businesses and nonprofits in West Virginia is ready to create at least 3,000 new green industry jobs. They say they just need the funding to do so.
Illinois' solar industry is looking to train a new generation of clean-energy workers
With Illinois looking ahead to its goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050, organizations are working to secure a workforce that is ready to install and maintain clean energy infrastructure, including solar arrays.
In Southern Illinois, people see a land of possibility with just transition from coal
As state efforts to spur a new clean energy economy in Southern Illinois coal country run up against reality, residents in the far southern part of the state are coming up with their own visions for what a just transition looks like.
From Coal To Clean Energy: Welcome To The New Appalachian Economy
An interview with Brandon Dennison, founder of Coalfield Development, and now also the Regional Economic Competitiveness Officer for the Appalachia Climate Tech (ACT NOW) coalition.
Polis signs $15M bill to fund transition efforts for coal, power workers
Governor Jared Polis signed legislation directing $15 million to the state Office of Just Transition to try to improve some of the economic and social impacts of the closure of coal power plants and mines across Colorado.
Report: Ensuring an Inclusive Clean Energy Transition
RMI releases a report detailing a proposed recovery and revitalization framework for coal workers and communities.
As Energy Transition Nears, New Bill Creates an Economic Pathway for Fossil-Dependent Communities
New legislation from Senator Michael Bennet will create an endowment fund and federally-chartered corporation to support communities struggling economically due to waning extraction industry.
Long-term planning projections highlight economic challenges, opportunities in Utah’s coal counties
The Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute released a report to highlight how scheduled power plant closures and declining coal production will affect Utah’s coal counties
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.
Key Players in Biden Administration's Plan for Coal, Energy Communities Talk Progress
During the recent Focus Forward 2022 conference in Morgantown, two of the key players in the administration’s goals shared their thoughts on progress so far, the work ahead and the feedback they are hearing from stakeholders on the ground.
As coal burning goes away in Colorado, money for coal workers goes up
Lawmakers in the Colorado General Assembly are poised to pass another round of funding for the state’s efforts to ensure a “just transition” for coal workers impacted by the shift to clean energy.
How an ex-coalmining town is turning to ecotourism to rebuild its economy
Dante, a Virginia town, is seeking to transform itself into a hub of ecotourism by nurturing the environment around it, and bring some of the natural beauty back to the community
Opinion: We Need Climate Action – But It Shouldn’t Be at the Expense of Social Justice
"So while transitioning to cleaner fuels is important, we need to do it without undermining the social and economic justice to which these people have a right."
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.
Decline of U.S. Coal Pressures Banks at the Core of Community Economies
Communities devastated by the collapse of U.S. coal production are also losing their bank branches, removing a catalyst for economic transition when it is most needed.
Colorado Coal Town Grapples With Future As Power Plant Shuts Down
After decades of relying on coal for their workforce, tax base and way of life, towns face uncertain futures as new state and national legislation forces the retirement of fossil fuels because of the worsening effects of human-caused climate change.
The Achilles’ Heel of Biden’s Climate Plan? Coal Miners.
Unions representing other workers affected by climate legislation have struck deals, but opposition from coal miners has persisted, complicating the path to enactment.
West Virginians aren't climate 'deniers,' but don't want U.S. green economy at their expense
Voices from West Virginia explain the nuances of the state's needs during the ongoing energy transition and push back against the narrative and perceptions pedaled by those from outside the region.
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.
Looking Back and Pointing Ahead At the Future of Coal Mining in Appalachia
WVPB’s "Inside Appalachia" program explores the economic and health impacts of coal, the industry’s past and future, and tells the story of a woman working in the male-dominated industry.
Wyoming Unprepared to Grab Federal Coal Community Lifeline, Experts Say
As federal leaders increase funding for coal communities, many of Wyoming’s eligible areas lack the resources and expertise needed to access it.
Appalachian Regional Commission Announces Nearly $50 Million to Support Coal Communities
In the program’s largest funding announcement to date, the agency funded 57 projects in Appalachian coal communities through the Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative.
New Polling by the Nature Conservancy, West Virginia Chamber of Commerce Shows West Virginians Open to Clean Energy Transition
Among other results, the poll found that “90% of statewide respondents and 95% of coal country respondents could identify the benefits of shifting focus from the traditional energy industry in West Virginia towards clean energy production.”
Where Will Wyoming's Displaced Fossil Fuel Workers Go?
As the state’s fossil fuel industries decline, leaders across Wyoming are exploring creative solutions to help prepare workers for new careers.
Biden Administration Allocates $300 Million to Coal Communities
The Coal Communities Commitment funding will go toward two programs at the Economic Development Administration.
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.
Lack of Rural Infrastructure Could Inhibit Transition Efforts
A panel of NGOs views a lack of infrastructure investment, especially in broadband, as a barrier to creating economic opportunity in coal-impacted areas.
White House Working Group Releases Initial Report on Impacted Coal Communities
Developed by President Biden’s new Interagency Working Group, the report identifies 25 priority communities, lists federal programs that communities can leverage, and includes recommendations for addressing transition challenges.
The Intersection of Just Transition and Environmental Justice
A former coal miner in Kentucky and a reverend in South Carolina find common cause in their efforts to build a green economy.
Germany’s Energy Transition Lessons for the United States
The country’s proactive approach to energy transition, including tens of billions in funding for coal-impacted regions, parallels the policy vision of U.S. transition advocates.
“Can Biden Keep Coal Country From Becoming a ‘Ghost Town’?"
For nearly 60 years, presidents have promised to lift up Appalachia, but many communities remain on the brink.
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.
Opinion: Put Unemployed Miners and Drillers Back to Work in Restoration
“Economic development focusing on restoring the land once miners leave is a natural fit for beleaguered towns suffering the latest bust. Plus, by patching up the torn landscape these communities will help clear the path for other types of economic development, such as tourism or recreation.”
Colorado Town Partners With Community College to Address Coal Transition
To prepare for its coal plant’s closure, the town of Craig is working with a local community college to train workers—including displaced plant workers—in a range of new sectors.
President Biden Creates Working Group to Support Coal Community Transition
The new working group includes representatives from key federal agencies and will make recommendations to promote economic revitalization in America’s coal communities.
National Economic Transition Coalition Asks Biden to Address Coal Community Needs
Last month, 13 organizations—including the Just Transition Fund and community organizations across the country—outlined the need for a federal coordinating entity and greater funding for transition programs.
How West Virginia Could Become A Model for Renewal Across the Country
With political attention focused on West Virginia, community leaders and national development experts think the state provides a model for how the federal government can promote rural prosperity through investment in broadband, local amenities, and other strategies.
Ohio’s Power Plant Communities Reckon With Coal’s Decline
The state’s plant workers, residents, and local leaders seek new sources of livelihood while reflecting on coal’s complex legacy for their communities.
Opinion: This Town Powered America for Decades. What Do We Owe Them?
“What will happen to Gillette -- and other fossil fuel towns -- as the coal industry recedes and clean-energy goals are realized? And what difference could the Biden administration or Congress make for a dying town built on coal?”
Colorado’s Office of Just Transition Explores Funding Options
In its final action plan, the Office sees the need for both public and private funding to support communities’ transition across the state.
A Local Leader’s Fight to Ensure A Just Transition for the Navajo Nation
Nicole Horseherder, Executive Director of Tó Nizhóní Ání, shares her story of helping Navajo communities build a more equitable economy in the wake of recent coal closures.
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.
NET Partners Urge Biden Administration to Set Up White House Office of Economic Transition Now
With President Joe Biden officially taking power yesterday, a number of National Economic Transition coalition partners are urging the Biden-Harris Administration to take quick action to address the crises facing coal communities from Navajo Nation to Appalachia and beyond.
Report: Dominion Energy Must Start Planning Now for Coal Plant Transition
A new report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis highlights the local economic risks of abrupt closure of the utility’s power plant in Wise County, Virginia.
Colorado’s Just Transition Advisory Commission Releases Final Action Plan
Based largely on a draft plan released in August 2020, the final plan outlines strategies to support the state’s coal-impacted communities and workers.
2020 Brought More Job Loss and Bankruptcies for Coal Communities
8,000 coal workers lost their jobs in the last year, and five coal companies have gone bankrupt in the past five months.
Wind Energy Brings Tax Revenue Growth for Wyoming Localities
Despite the pandemic, the Roundhouse Wind Energy Project has increased annual tax revenues by 20% in Laramie County and the city of Cheyenne.
Native Renewables’ Wahleah Johns Appears On A Matter of Degrees Podcast
Joined by leading scholars and advocates, Johns discusses the Navajo Nation’s historical relationship to coal and their current efforts to achieve a just transition.
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.”
Finding Lessons for Climate Activists in Utah Coal Communities
“Indeed, what scares many of these communities is the demonization from and lack of dialogue with mainstream environmentalists. They deeply fear being left behind by the energy transition, and that has become one of the motivating factors for places like Emery County to innovate with carbon capture and energy storage.”
What the Biden Presidency Could Mean for West Virginia’s Just Transition
Some West Virginians worry about Biden’s impact on fossil fuel industries, while others see a new opportunity to expand federal support for transitioning communities.
Opinion: Securitization A Useful Financing Tool for Transition From Coal
Securitization and other financing tools can help ease the energy transition for states and utilities, but they must be designed to address worker and community needs.
Why Those Harmed By Coal Pollution Need To Be Heard As Coal Plants Shut Down
As Indiana coal plants close, environmental justice advocates want decision-makers to hear from communities harmed by decades of coal-related pollution.
Arizona utility offers $169 million transition deal with Navajo
As three coal plants and mines wind down, a plan for what comes next.
Young People Discuss the Path Forward for Their Coal-Impacted Communities
“I want to stay. I just love it here. I don’t know what living here is going to look like or how I’m going to provide income for myself and my family...But I just love the area even though we’re on such a downhill when it comes to [things] economically.”
As Virginia Moves Toward 100% Clean Energy, Advocates Work to Ensure Benefits Reach Coal Communities
Policy hurdles prevent schools and other public institutions in Southwest Virginia from adopting solar energy and capturing its economic benefits.
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.
The Debate Over Carbon Capture in a New Mexico City
While proponents cite local coal job retention, others are skeptical of high costs and impacts on nearby people and environments.
Germany’s Lessons for the U.S. Coal Transition
Despite challenges of its own, the country’s approach to phasing out coal is a useful guide to how the United States can ensure a just transition for workers and communities.
Opinion: A Fair and Responsible Transition to Clean Energy
“The question is whether we watch passively from the sidelines or try to direct this once-in-a-lifetime transition in ways that are efficient for energy producers, affordable for energy consumers, fair for workers, and sustainable in our use of earth’s resources.”
Brandon Dennison Shares His Perspective On an Equitable Economic Transition for Coal Communities
“Those most affected by coal’s collapse don’t have to be collateral damage in the transition to renewable energy; we can be the leaders of an entirely new and better economy. In fact, I believe Appalachians have the exact skills our country will need to remain globally competitive in this new, more sustainable economy.”
Anthony Flaccavento Applies Lessons from the Tobacco Transition to the Coal Transition
For Flaccavento, the National Economic Transition platform provides the investment needed for Appalachian communities to navigate a second economic transition.
Indiana Policymakers Forge a Complicated Transition From Coal to Renewables
As the state’s utilities move toward renewables, recent legislation aims to keep coal in use.
Appalachia’s Unreclaimed Mine Land Threatened by Coal Bankruptcies
As coal companies struggle to transfer their mining permits during bankruptcy, environmental liabilities are unaccounted for.
Research Estimates Utility-Scale Solar’s Economic Potential in Appalachian Ohio
A new report says that large solar developments could create tens of thousands of jobs and billions in economic activity in the region.
Letter: State Needs to Lead Transition from Coal
“The people of Illinois have had a long-standing, proud history of providing energy for families across the state. Let’s continue our proud history by moving forward into a legacy where we can provide a just transition to a new energy economy.”
Report Outlines Benefits of Environmental and Infrastructure Spending for Communities in Transition
The second report in a just transition policy series analyzes the economic impacts of federal programs for environmental remediation and infrastructure.
Coal Country Confronts Industry’s Future, Sees Solutions in Policy
As coal continues to decline, communities from West Virginia to Wyoming see a need for state and federal policy support.
Op-Ed: To Fight Climate Change, Strand Fossil Fuel Assets, Not Workers
“A national just transition policy that drives unprecedented public investment into fossil fuel-dependent communities is a moral imperative. It is also a political one if we hope to take ambitious climate action.”
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.
Wind and Solar Industries Rise in Wyoming Coal Country
Local workers, residents, and leaders adjust to a changing energy landscape.
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.
Colorado’s Just Transition Advisory Committee Releases Rough Draft of Just Transition Plan
The draft plan includes recommendations for worker benefits, local transition plans, and community investment.
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
Op-ed: Utilities Must Commit to Invest in Communities in Move from Coal
"The rapidly changing energy landscape makes it critical for the burdens of fossil fuel workers and communities to be assessed in all utility planning, so that we aren’t left behind, once again."
“Reclaiming and Growing Wyoming’s Future" with Transition Planning Resources
The Powder River Basin Resource Council launched a four-part webinar series during the COVID-19 pandemic to help communities in Wyoming and beyond prepare for the ongoing transition from coal.
Making Tough Decisions in New Mexico During the Transition to Renewables
As the state moves to 100% renewable energy, communities that relied on coal facilities for jobs and economic growth are pushing for equity in emerging clean energy opportunities.
In Saskatchewan, public funding for transition
Two small communities are sharing $10 million in provincial-government reinvestment funds to help workers and businesses affected by the shutdown of local coal plants.
Commentary: A post-coal future for Hopi and Navajo
With proper resources and visionary leadership, tribal communities in northern Arizona can reinvent their economies.
Commentary: Germany leads U.S. on transition planning
“As activists, lawmakers, and communities grapple with how to handle the economic, environmental, and social changes, many are asking how we ensure that transition is just,” the author writes.
Commentary: Utility giant’s six-state transition strategy will create national ripples
PacifiCorp is setting the industry pace in a shift toward solar and battery storage, a strategy likely to influence electricity-production companies across the board.
German national program will put US$15 billion into local coal-transition investments
"The regions can use the financial support to boost the economy in a wide range of areas, such as business-related infrastructure, improving public transport, broadband infrastructure, environmental protection and landscape management.”
Imminent closure of Navajo plant stirs uncertainty
The transition question looms large in northern Arizona: “How to ensure positive environmental change doesn’t come at a crippling economic cost for some of America’s most marginalized communities.”