Biden admin ramps up jobs pitch in coal country

By Hannah Northey | 03/21/2024 01:20 PM EDT

But even as officials announce $475 million in funding for renewable energy projects on current or former mine sites, others note that getting dislocated miners into well-paying, long-term jobs remains a major challenge.

solar panels and coal

Funding announced by the Biden administration Thursday includes millions of dollars for solar projects at former coal mine sites. iStock

President Joe Biden is pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into battleground states like Pennsylvania, Nevada and Arizona to juice renewable energy production at former and active mines and help retrain workers in areas gutted by the transition away from coal.

But union and industry advocates warn that former coal miners continue to face an uncertain future as the nation shifts to renewables, EVs and other emission-curbing technologies.

On Thursday, the Biden administration announced that $475 million from 2021’s bipartisan infrastructure law will be funneled to five projects — solar, geothermal, microgrids and pumped-storage hydropower — at current and former mine sites with a goal of creating up to 3,000 construction and operations jobs. Three of the projects will be at former coal mines, while two are aimed at helping green copper and gold mining operations in the West.


The funding is part of a multiyear strategy laid out last year to bolster communities around coal mines and coal-fired power plants that are now caught in the crosshairs of a national energy transition.