Solar energy is fast becoming the new sheriff town, even in places like Benham, Kentucky that was once considered to be the ultimate symbol of coal mining industry.
The 500 people strong town of Benham, the USA now looks to change its dynamics for the better as their most symbolic building, Kentucky Coal Mining Museum, has sanctioned the installation of an array of solar panels on its roof. The museum owner, however, says that this move is done purely due to financial sense.
Brandon Robinson, a spokesman for Southeast Community and Technical College, the society that owns the museum, says that the installation of solar panels will help cut down the museum’s energy costs by $8,000 to $10,000 per year.
This is true as in the U.S., and globally, prices of renewable technologies have been plummeting as they are bought and manufactured in larger numbers and reach economies of scale. Just in 2016, renewable energy investors made record profits for lesser money than in previous years.
This shows that despite Donald Trump regime’s criminal failure to be aboveboard about climate change and green energy, the positive trends are here to stay. And Trump’s claims of revitalizing the long-suffering American coal industry have been taken with a grain of salt even by mining executives, given the stiff competition from renewable and natural gas technologies.
“Despite the changes in tone from the new administration, we think solar and wind will expand in the U.S.,” said Angus McCrone, chief editor of Bloomberg New Energy Finance. All signs are that’s going to continue,” he said by phone from London.
The Kentucky museum was build in 1994 and is adorned with relics from the town’s elaborate coal mining past, which includes mining tools, photographs, and a peculiar two-ton block of coal. And the third floor of the museum even hosts country music legend Loretta Lynn, singer of the famous “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” with its rooftop now holding the very technology that threatens to turn the once booming coal industry into a mere relic for the glass cases.
But the coal industry still isn’t completely dead in the town, although, in the heyday of coal mining, Benham had about 3,000 residents compared to the current 500.
Robinson, the museum spokesman, told Eastern Kentucky news channel WYMT,
“Coal is still king around here,”
It is heartening to see how solar is gaining acceptance in places that presented the staunchest opposition for cultural, political and economic reasons. Benham’s 85-year-old mayor, Wanda Humphrey, told the Associated Press,
“The people here are sort of in awe of this solar thing.”