You know Not-My-President Donald Trump can’t bring those coal mining jobs back when even the Kentucky Coal Museum’s installing solar panels on their roof.
The museum is installing solar panels on its roof, part of a project aimed at lowering the energy costs of one of the city’s largest electric customers. It’s also a symbol of the state’s efforts to move away from coal as its primary energy source as more coal-fired power plants are replaced by natural gas. The state legislature recently lifted its decades-old ban on nuclear power.
Even when coal mining was in its heyday, Benham was a small town with only 3,000 people. Now, only 500 remain. one of them is Wanda Humphrey, who says she serves as mayor because nobody else wants the job.
“The people here are sort of in awe of this solar thing,” she told the news crew. Roger Noe, a past state rep. who sponsored the bill for creating the Kentucky Coal Museum, wryly acknowledged the irony of this undertaking.
“It’s a little ironic or coincidental that you are putting solar green energy on a coal museum. Coal comes from nature, the sun rays come from nature so it all works out to be a positive thing.”
The Kentucky Coal Museum was seen as an ideal location for this foray into green energy because it gets lots of sunlight, and also because it’s the biggest consumer of energy in the area. Brandon Robinson from Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, (which owns the museum, told reporters the solar panels will save the town $8,000-$10,000 a year in energy costs.
But in this case, “invisible hand” of the free market giveth green jobs and energy savings as it taketh away the dangerous coal mining jobs. EKB-TV notes that a local company from Harlan County called Bluegrass Solar’s doing the first part of the installation.The company’s owner, Tre’ Sexton, explains the power from the solar panels goes straight back into the power grid…Which will provide more power and lower energy costs for the town at large.
“Of course coal is still king around here,” SKTCTC’s Communications Director Brandon Robinson assures us. “But when you talk about using other sources to help [generate] power, it’s always good to have more than one.”
WATCH: Kentucky Coal Museum installing solar panels to save money.