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Clean Energy Jobs Blow In (not Blow Up) Coal River Mountain

November 21st, 2009 · 11 Comments

This is part of a series of brief posts on ‘clean energy jobs’ opportunities for sparking meaningful employment, quickly, in the United States as discussed in Clean Energy Jobs: Stimulate Me.

Clean Energy Jobs Blow In (not blow up) Coal River Mountain: $250 million per year for 25,000 jobs

We often hear about how coal mining is critical due to jobs. Well, West Virginia has seen coal-mining jobs fall from 120,000 to 15,000 due to automation. And, the atrocious war on Appalachia called mountaintop removal really is designed quite specifically to take the miner out of the mine. You could say that it does the same thing to the job market that it does to the mountains.

According to Appalachian Voices,

The employment benefits of wind development as compared to coal mining are substantial for nearby communities. Development of a 229 turbine wind site on Coal River Mountain would directly create between 200 and 250 jobs per year for the first 2 years of construction and would support more than 50 permanent jobs in the area – potentially in perpetuity. Surface mining would directly create between 50 and 150 jobs per year for about 14 years while the mines were active, after which the land would be unsightly, unstable, and of little use for economic development in the forseeable future.

Clean energy … Cleaner air … more jobs … local revenue … and less impact on the natural environment …

At this time, there is a battle under way for defining West Virginia’s future. The Coal River Valley has remained relatively pristine in the face of all of the MTR throughout West Virginia. Traditional fossil-fuel energy community and coal companies look at that pristine terrain and see “opportunity”. (Think, I must say, Once-Ler from Dr Seuss’ book The Lorax.) Yet, others look to this situation and see an opportunity to carve a new future for West Virginia and its citizens.

The warfare on Appalachia has extended recently to Coal River Mountain, with blasting to destroy (essentially) forever this beautiful, diverse landscape and devastate its great potential for enduring wind production.  There is still breathing space to stop the explosions before the damage goes too far (with temporary reprieves due to activist protests against MTR)  … but each blasting cap eats away at that margin of opportunity.

(Call on Obama Administration to intervene to end Coal River Mountain Mountain Top Removal.)

Interestingly, putting wind power into not just Coal River Mountain, but throughout Appalachia at suitable sites, offers up another interesting potential for exploration: using miners to create underground hydro storage to enable Appalachia wind to have embedded storage (perhaps in old mines?) that would enable selling the electricity for peak prices when it is needed, rather than simply take the price to be had when the wind blows.

Coal Energy Jobs Blow In (not blow up) Coal River Mountain Program: $250 million for a program to foster greater and faster wind penetration in Appalachia. $230 million should be dedicated to paying 15% of the costs for putting wind farms in Appalachia (with the Federal government to receive a 2.5% share of electricity production, the state to receive 2.5%, and the local community 2.5%; the remaining 7.5% is to be funding for the developer (whether private or public).  The remaining $20 million is to be used for research on constructing (underground) power storage to enable cost-effective large scale power storage for Appalachia Wind. Roughly one-half of these funds should be to support demonstration projects.  This funding mechanism / path should lead to a total of about $1.2 billion moving into Appalachia wind projects each year.

This $250 million funding would create roughly 25000 jobs in some of the most impoverished communities in America.

Clean Energy Jobs series posts:

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Tags: clean energy jobs · coal · Energy · wind power

11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 uberVU - social comments // Nov 22, 2009 at 8:43 am

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by ClimaTweets: [Get Energy Smart] Clean Energy Jobs Blow In (not Blow Up) Coal River Mountain: This is part of a series of brief p…

  • 2 Smart Grid Blog » Blog Archive » Clean Energy Jobs Blow In (not Blow Up) Coal River Mountain // Nov 23, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    […] via Clean Energy Jobs Blow In (not Blow Up) Coal River Mountain. […]

  • 3 Clean Energy Jobs Go To The Cleaners // Nov 24, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    […] Clean Energy Jobs Blow In (not Blow Up) Coal River Mountain […]

  • 4 Watcher // Nov 27, 2009 at 6:21 am

    Just where is the investment going to “blow in” from for this wind project?

    Couple things:

    1. If you didn’t understand, proposed here is additional incentive funding that would be part of a larger jobs package from the Federal government.

    2. There is money sitting on the sidelines ready to be invested into renewable energy projects. Policy encouragement (that means having ITC/PTC in place, some form of long-term price structuring, etc …) along with this sort of additional funding would open up, nearly literally, a floodgate of investment.

  • 5 Clean Energy Jobs fill labs // Nov 30, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    […] Clean Energy Jobs Blow In (not Blow Up) Coal River Mountain […]

  • 6 Clean Energy Jobs come in small and BIG numbers … 10+ million of them // Dec 2, 2009 at 5:53 am

    […] Clean Energy Jobs Blow In (not Blow Up) Coal River Mountain […]

  • 7 Clean Energy Jobs Go Swimming // Dec 2, 2009 at 8:19 am

    […] Clean Energy Jobs Blow In (not Blow Up) Coal River Mountain […]

  • 8 How to create 1.7 million clean energy jobs | Going Green // Dec 2, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    […] Get Energy Smart Now, A. Siegel has many more ideas and details of how to create millions of clean energy jobs […]

  • 9 Scientists find MTR war systematically dangerous // Jan 7, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    […] Of course, better alternatives exist for our power situation and for the local economy. […]

  • 10 “In truth, we are all enemies of coal.” Roanoke Times // Oct 9, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    […] communities and treat them as the unheralded heros of society that they have been. Thus, with the creation of real economic opportunities in their communities before mines are shut down, transition aid into mining communities, and provision — if appropriate — of honorable […]

  • 11 Clueless // Apr 20, 2015 at 12:25 am

    Are you kidding me?? You don’t think that wind farms harm the environment? Talk about destruction.

    Are you serious?

    You are suggesting that wind energy is more damaging than coal?

    Mountain top removal?

    You don’t think you need bats there in West Virginia? What about eagles?

    Site planning matters.

    Again, by the way, you don’t think that MTR disrupts eagle habitat and poisons the waters they drink in?

    And, again, relative damage:

    The study estimates that wind farms and nuclear power stations are responsible each for between 0.3 and 0.4 fatalities per gigawatt-hour (GWh) of electricity while fossil-fueled power stations are responsible for about 5.2 fatalities per GWh. …. The paper concludes that further study is needed, but also that fossil-fueled power stations appear to pose a much greater threat to avian wildlife than wind and nuclear power technologies.

    See Birds Die

    Also, wind farms do NOT create jobs. That is a laugh. Beyond the out of state people who come in to build them.


    Actual analysis of real world experience makes clear that this is not true. And, in long term, there are maintenance jobs and there are the jobs supported by the substantial tax revenue and the payments made to land owners.

    In any event, this Appalachian Voices post from years ago seems to be quite appropriate for responding to you. From it …

    The claims made by the protesters – that Appalachian Voices supports blowing up mountains for wind turbines – is ridiculous and offensive. To imply that wind farms cause the same environmental toll as mountaintop removal is illogical. Wind energy is a proven technology that works, and has a relatively light environmental impact. A study conducted by Appalachian State University HERE showed that wind energy development on a small percentage of North Carolina ridges could produce enough clean energy for 195,000 homes, create 350 green jobs, and have a net economic impact of over one billion dollars.


    Huge Trucks taking Kayford Apart