If I lived in rural Virginia, or anywhere else for that matter, and my children and grandchildren were looking for a job, or start a business, I’d try to help them create opportunity in sustainable / green energy.
This is the future’: rural Virginia pivots from coal to green jobs ,
Nina Lakhani, The Guardian, 8 Sept 2022
Region’s long awaited energy and economic transition will be substantially boosted by US’s first climate law, the Inflation Reduction Act
When Mason Taylor enrolled at the local vocational school with dreams of becoming an electrician like his dad, it was assumed that the ninth-grader would eventually end up moving away from Wise county, Virginia, to find a decent job.
Now 19, Taylor just bought a truck after a summer apprenticing with a crew of electricians installing rooftop solar systems at public schools in the county. He was among a dozen or so rookies paid $17 an hour, plus tools and a travel stipend, as part of the state’s first solar energy youth apprenticeship scheme.
“Around here it’s always been coal, coal, coal, we didn’t hear much about green energy,” said Taylor, who comes from a long line of miners. “This is a great opportunity to learn, great pay, and maybe I’ll be able to stay here in the mountains with my family if solar takes off.”
In the past decade or so, unemployment and poverty have forced many to leave south-west Virginia as the coal industry’s decline ricocheted across central Appalachia. It’s torn many families apart and any talk of renewable energy was considered anti-coal, but attitudes are starting to change.
“We have to get away from fossil fuels that are killing our planet. Technology has come a long way and will keep getting better. This is the future,” said chief electrician Jimmy Rogers, 49, whose family worked on the coal trains in Tennessee.
The region’s long-awaited energy and economic transition will be substantially boosted by America’s first climate legislation, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
It’s far from a panacea, but Joe Biden’s legislation provides $369bn for the transition to electric vehicles and renewable energy – a historic investment that scientists estimate will reduce greenhouse gases by 40% below 2005 levels by 2030 and create an estimated 1.5m new jobs.
Decent well-paid jobs are desperately needed. In Virginia, coal production has declined by 70% since its peak in 1990, and much of what’s left is semi-automated. Those old jobs are largely gone and are not coming back.
The IRA provides ring-fenced money for training, innovation and manufacturing, as well as an array of tax breaks and other financial incentives to help consumers and businesses transition away from fossil fuels. And Joe Manchin, the conservative Democrat senator from West Virginia played a pivotal role in watering down – and then reviving – the legislation, directing billions of dollars to the economic revival of depressed coal towns.
Exploring Solar Panel Efficiency Breakthroughs in 2022
Undecided with Matt Ferrell, 12 July 2022
Scientists have just had a major solar panels efficiency breakthrough, and it could mean a big change for the future of renewable energy. Visit https://brilliant.org/undecided to sign up for free. And also, the first 200 people will get 20% off their annual premium membership. This isn’t just more hype, but a sign of where solar panel technology stands today and is heading in the near future. However, this isn’t the only big solar panel news from 2022. There’s been a lot of very recent advancements from perovskites to organic solar cells too, so what does this mean for you and me? Let’s see if we can come to a decision on this.
UPDATE: The US congress recently extended and raised the solar tax credit as part of the Inflation Reduction Act. But you can still research for solar in your area using my EnergySage portal: http://bit.ly/undecidedsolar