A Museum commemorating the history of the Coal Industry, located in the heart of coal country has turned to solar power to save money. The museum is owned by Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College in Benham, Kentucky. (photo – coal mining in KY)
“We believe that this project will help save at least eight to ten thousand dollars off the energy costs on this building alone, so it’s a very worthy effort and it’s going to save the college money in the long run” said the museum’s director Brandon Robinson “that’s money we put back toward teaching our students.”
The solar panels are being installed by Bluegrass Solar, whose owner, Tre Sexton said that the system will produce more power than the museum needs so the surplus can be fed back into the city’s grid, reports EcoWatch.
“Clean energy is cheaper, it saves money, and it reduces pollution,” said Michael Brune, of the Sierra Club. “So it’s no surprise that communities and institutions around the country are installing it as fast as they can.” (photo – EKB- TV)
Has the World Seen Peak Coal??
The global demand for coal dropped dramatically in 2016 as construction on new coal-fired power plants fell 33% from levels of the prior year. The decline is related to a move away from coal by China and India, causing those two countries alone, to freeze more than 100 projects. This combined with the closure of older coal plants in the U.S. and U.K. and coal phase-outs in three additional G8 countries.
“The shift from fossil fuels to clean sources in the power sector is a positive one for health, climate security and jobs. And by all indications, the shift is unstoppable,” said Ted Nace, director of CoalSwarm as reported in ECoWatch.
Coal Mines Upstream, Water Pollution Downstream in Indonesia
The Santan River in East Kalimantan was once a vital source of clean water for Indonesian Villages. Now residents say that the river’s water quality has been seriously degraded making it unsafe for drinking, irrigation or aquaculture.
Historically, the river has served these residents as a means of transportation; for everyday needs and to flood their and fishponds. Now the people have abandoned the river because the quality of the water has deteriorated. Locals blame a coal mine located near the headwaters of the river and they are quick to point out that the water remains pure upstream of the mine.
A large Thai conglomerate operates this mine plus eight other mines in East Kalimantan. However, in February of 2016 the Ministry of Forests revoked the mine’s operating permit after an appeal from the village residents. However, there is evidence that mining continues to expand on the Santan, a suspicion that was substantiated by satellite images.
“So many people are targeted by corruption in relation to coal mining” says a local activist. See this entire article in Mongabay.
Thousands March in Jakarta to Protest Coal Mining
March 23, several thousand people marched in Jakarta including representatives from villages affected by coal mining and coal-fired power plants. A delegation was received at Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission where they presented a report alleging corruption. Some of the demonstrators have complained that it has been over five years since they started their protests.
“We have already been fighting for five years. Our fields are already finished. My husband is a fisherman and his fishing grounds are already covered with mud that was dug up during the construction of a dock” complained Junainah from Batang village. Read more about the protest demands in Mongabay.
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