WHEELING, W.Va. — A new study featured in the Harvard Business Review finds it would cost as much as $1.8 billion to retrain the “vast majority” of U.S. coal miners to work in the solar power industry, with $475 million of this required in West Virginia.
West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney said about 8,000 miners have lost their jobs in the Mountain State during the last six years. He said instead of trying to retrain miners to install solar panels, the federal government should allow the coal industry to reach its full potential by relaxing environmental regulations.
“Has anyone asked the coal miners and their families if they want to be retrained?” Raney said. “Our coal miners want to stay here and do what their families have been doing for generations. Government needs to get out of the way.”
Joshua M. Pearce is an associate professor in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering and in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the Michigan Technological University. He and Oregon State University public policy professor Edward Louie completed the coal miner-to-solar worker study.
“It is clear that coal is no longer a competitive form of electrical generation…