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We Need a Road Map to a Coal-Free Future

It's time for clean energy independence, not a hodge-podge collection of new regulations.

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The plunder of Appalachia and all coalfield communities must end.

More so, with coal-fired plants contributing over 30 percent of our CO2 emissions, everyone’s fate is connected to the coalfields now.

“Clean coal” carbon capture and storage plans are not only chimeras for Big Coal profit, but will ultimately increase coal production by 20-30 percent.

In the end, our fiduciary responsibility to our children demands a new way of generating our electricity in Kentucky and the country. It also affords us a great opportunity for economic and social revitalization

Clean energy independence, not coal, will bring more sustainable jobs.

Wind, solar, hydropower and turbine manufacturing, along with weatherization, retrofitting appliances and homes, could create jobs. The Appalachian Regional Commission found that “energy-efficiency investments could result in an increase of 77,378 net jobs by 2030″ in the region.

For us, such a clean energy revolution began with the proposed  Smith # 1 coal-fired plant in eastern Kentucky, which was recently set aside. Instead of a costly coal-fired dinosaur, a recent study found that a combination of “energy efficiency, weatherization, hydropower and wind power initiatives in the East Kentucky Power Cooperative region would generate more than 8,750 new jobs for Kentucky residents, with a total impact of more than $1.7 billon on the region’s economy over the next three years.”

Ultimately, this clean energy independence would meet the energy needs of EKPC customers and cost less than the proposed coal plant.

A coal-free future began in Kentucky, in the heartland of our nation’s coalfields. Now it’s time to imagine a coal-free future for the rest of the country.

The writers are co-founders of the  Coal Free Future Project .

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