Since the mid-1990s, coal production in Kentucky has been steadily shrinking, and for a righteous reason. The repercussions of carbon emissions are on the agenda of nearly every politician globally, and the future of fossil fuels seems to be as dead as its beginnings.
Yet 87 percent of Kentucky’s power in 2015 was generated from coal, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The long-applauded developmental benefits have left untold consequences, and Kentucky’s contribution to pollution needs to be severed like the gangrened limb it has become.
What source then will provide clean, affordable power and job restoration for Kentucky in years to come?
While cleaner than coal, gas still has stupendous effects on the atmosphere, climate and biological life. It’s primarily a steppingstone to keep costs down. And unfortunately, in Kentucky, solar and wind power would be inconsistent. The state needs reliable, emission-free and safe energy; nuclear may be the only game in town. Nuclear is safe and getting safer.
But no matter the source, the transition to clean energy is certain to be expensive. And yet, these costs should not be demonized; it would be disingenuous to say emission-free power is anything but an investment for the health and well-being of Kentuckians and all life on Earth.