"KNOTT COUNTY — It was a little over five years ago when Philip Marsh looked
over the thousands of acres of reclaimed strip mine land he owned near the
Knott County line and wouldn’t have a clue what would come of it.
The Eastern Kentucky mountaintops that Marsh owned, now pastures after decades
of coal mining, used to be the Starfire mine that employed nearly 300 people
and took out of the mountains more than 3 million tons of coal a year at its
peak, according to Marsh.
“They’ve been mining coal up here since the late ‘60s, early ‘70s. So it’s hard
to find somebody that doesn’t know about Starfire in Knott, Perry and Breathitt
counties,” he said.
Marsh, who used to work for the coal company that owned the Starfire mine, and
his business partner built a small lodge and campground for guided elk hunts
across the land. But another opportunity came along in 2020 that kindled an
idea to help return the land to its energy-producing roots.
Kentucky officials and the Florida-based solar developer BrightNight unveiled
that opportunity Tuesday as the company announced plans to invest about $1
billion to build a sprawling solar installation generating up to 800 megawatts
(MW) – the electricity equivalent of powering more than 500,000 homes. It would
be the largest solar installation planned in the state so far in terms of
Via Future Crunch
*** Xanni ***
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Manager, Serious Cybernetics