Target: Jim Justice, Governor of West Virginia
Goal: Expand incentives for renewable energy in states with declining coal-based economies.
West Virginian coal miners have been severely impacted by the United States’ transition away from coal as an energy source. Total coal production fell from 158m tons in 2008 to 80m tons in 2016, resulting in the loss of over 14,000 jobs in the coal industry between 2011 and 2016. In response to these devastating employment losses, many of these coal workers are seeking employment elsewhere. It’s time to put these former coal workers back to work by incentivizing them to seek employment in renewable energy industries.
Employment in the solar energy sector already far exceeds coal with 200,000 total employees in 2016. Solar employment was under 50,000 in 2010. There is an opportunity for coal states such as West Virginia to salvage their economies by encouraging renewable energy development. A diverse collection of states has successfully created booming clean energy sectors based around solar and wind. This was accomplished through incentives not yet implemented in West Virginia, such as solar equipment leases, tax credits and net metering which credits solar users back for energy they contribute to the grid.
Renewable energy has the potential to provide a viable long-term industry and revitalize communities in decline. Please sign the below petition calling for states such as West Virginia to encourage its development.
Dear Governor Justice,
I am writing to urge you to embrace renewable energy development in West Virginia. As you are aware, coal production has fallen dramatically in recent years, a reduction which has hit West Virginians especially hard in the loss of almost 14,000 coal jobs between 2011 and 2016. Renewable energy has skyrocketed nationwide with over 50,000 more people employed in solar than coal.
Several states, such as Iowa and Kansas, have successfully created renewable energy sectors by utilizing incentives including tax breaks, solar leasing and net metering. These could be implemented in support of companies such as Solar Holler of Shepherdstown, which is retraining coal workers to construct solar panels.
You must realize that the use of coal is in rapid decline globally and renewable energy sources will power the future. Please support the creation of a clean energy economy in your state.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Martin Prochnik