Coal plants seeing second life with renewable power projects
Across the US, old coal plants are living out second lives. The sites, long a source of pollution, are now becoming resources for solar, renewable energy.
“As an organization, we recognize that climate change is impacting our communities and our country and this world,” said Claudia Morrow, senior vice president of corporate development and strategy for Texas-based energy company Vistra Corp. “One way that we can be a leader in the transition is with opportunities or initiatives, like coal-to-solar and the energy storage initiative.”
Morrow says Vistra Corp. already has coal-to-solar projects well underway at plants in Texas and California.
Soon the company will begin work on a $500 million renewable energy initiative at several Illinois coal plants, creating 2,200 full-time equivalent jobs in the process, she added.
“This is welcomed and certainly something that finally brings to fruition what we’ve been asking these companies to do for years,” said Christine Nannicelli, senior campaign representative for the grassroots environmental organization Sierra Club Illinois.
Despite her approval, Nannicelli admits she’s still urging energy companies undergoing renewable energy efforts to also focus resources on the proper cleanup of coal ash pollution and groundwater contaminants.
Vistra Corp. is still working through regulatory hurdles in Illinois.