Kentucky coal company joins with renewable energy giant to plan - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky coal company joins with renewable energy giant to plan Pikeville solar farm

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A coal company and a renewable energy developer are working together in what they say is an attempt to bring the first large-scale solar farm to Appalachia, according to a news release.

The project is planned in Pike County, Kentucky.

The Berkeley Energy Group, a Pikeville-based coal company, and EDF Renewable Energy, a renewable energy company based in San Diego, are planning to create a 50 to 100 megawatt solar farm in the Pikeville area.

"The project would involve hundreds [of] acres of reclaimed strip mines and generate employment for displaced coal miners in the construction phase of the development," the news release states.

The project is currently only in the preliminary stages. According to the news release, engineering studies and site selection procedures have begun, and project leaders are focusing on twin mountaintop removal sites just outside Pikeville.

"My family roots run deep in eastern Kentucky and its coal mines," Ryan Johns, project development executive for Berkeley Energy Group, said in a statement. "I'm excited about the potential of this innovative project to help diversify our economy and create jobs for our people. This is a long-term process with much work to be done before a construction date can be set, but I believe an experienced renewable project developer like EDF RE is the perfect partner in making our vision a reality. If it can be done, we'll get it it done."

Adam Edelen, who served as the Kentucky state auditor from 2012 to 2016, is also involved in the project through his management consulting company, Edelen Strategic Ventures, according to the release.

"Bringing together major players in both coal and renewable energy to build a solar farm on a mountaintop removal site, creating opportunity for out-of-work miners is a once-in-a-lifetime project," Edelen said. "It's proof positive that Kentuckians can do big things, and find help from others in doing so."

Representatives of EDF RE say that a project of the scale proposed for the solar farm has never been attempted in Appalachia. Edelen promises that more details will be released as the project progresses.

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