Covering Coal Country’s Sins with Solar?

Mountaintop removal mining (MTR) is one of the most reprehensible ways to extract energy. It’s an absolutely devastating practice of literally blowing the tops off of ancient mountains and hills to get to the dirty coal below. Visit parts of Appalachia, and you’ll see firsthand the ugly and vicious process that takes rolling green hills, and turns them into barren, polluted moonscapes. And for what? The dirtiest energy on the planet? It’s like topping a rotten ice cream sundae with drain cleaner.

Now, even in the face of Trump’s ridiculous claim of ‘bringing every coal job back’, mining executives in places like Kentucky are considering covering their destructive sins with a much nicer topping: solar panels. It makes sense, solar prices are dropping rapidly, coal jobs are dying, whether we like it or not. Why not cover the barren scars of mountaintop removal with renewable energy? It’s almost like putting band-aids on the scars of the earth. And while not a cure-all, the clean energy generated by some of these massive mines could add up to hundreds of megawatts of clean energy. Fast Company has a closer look at this potential positive turn in coal country.

Mountain-Top Removal mining

On putting solar over the barren landscapes of mountaintop removal mining:

It’s almost like putting band-aids on the scars of the earth.