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Energy agency announces $475M in funding for clean energy projects on mine land sites

  • Associated Press

With funding from the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law, the projects in Kentucky, West Virginia and Pennsylvania advance efforts to help with the energy transition. The administration said the clean energy projects will strengthen the country’s energy security while helping ensure mining communities continue playing a role in the energy economy.

Rye Development advances progress at Lewis Ridge pumped storage

  • Energy Global

“The PAD filing for Lewis Ridge is an important milestone in the development process,” said Paul Jacob, CEO of Rye Development. “Rye is excited to partner with the local community on this important project and to help deliver significant jobs and economic benefits to this coal region and state as the US electric grid transitions.”

Lewis Ridge will bring over 2000 family wage construction jobs during a 3 – 5 year build period, as well as several dozen direct and indirect family-wage jobs during project operations.

“When Congressman Hal Rogers and Governor Steve Beshear founded ‘Shaping Our Appalachian Region’ (SOAR) nearly a decade ago, they imagined it to be an organisation dedicated to supporting long-term economic development and innovation in Eastern Kentucky,” added Colby Hall, Executive Director of SOAR. “That is why we’re proud to support Rye Development’s Lewis Ridge project, which will represent a projected US$1+ billion investment into Eastern Kentucky. On top of this, it will pave the way for more high-tech employers to locate in the region, creating good-paying jobs for more Eastern Kentuckians. SOAR has no higher priority than this.”

Rye Development to build Lewis Ridge pumped storage project in Kentucky

  • Hydro Review

The Lewis Ridge pumped storage project site is located adjacent to the Cumberland River on a former coal strip mine. As coal is phased out of the electric power grid across the U.S., projects like Lewis Ridge can create new jobs and economic activity in energy communities, Rye said. The project will invest nearly $1 billion into the county and bring close to 2,000 construction jobs over a three- to five-year period. Several dozen direct and indirect jobs permanent jobs also are expected to be created.

The loss of coal generation also means the country will need thousands of megawatts of new generating resources and electricity storage to integrate the intermittent renewable energy from wind and solar that is being added to the grid, Rye said. The existing project site features beneficial topography and proximity to transmission infrastructure.

Kentucky Coal Mine Will Become Giant “Water Battery” Energy Storage Project

  • Clean Technica

No sooner does the Ford Motor Company put Kentucky on the clean tech map for EV battery manufacturing, when along comes the leading hydropower company Rye Development with a proposal to make Kentucky an epicenter of the long duration energy storage trend. Long duration storage is the final nail in the coffin for the domestic coal industry, which kind of puts Kentucky policy makers in the hot seat considering that the economy of The Bluegrass State still leans on coal.

Former Coal Mine Will House New Pumped-Hydro Storage Project

  • Power

Pumped-hydro storage in the U.S. is receiving renewed support from the DOE and Congress, spurring more research and development into hydropower in general along with pumped storage. The DOE in September 2021 announced a new $8.5 million funding opportunity to improve the operational flexibility of the U.S. hydropower fleet, with the DOE’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) funding up to six awards to advance hydropower technologies to enhance power grid reliability. The awards will support the WPTO’s HydroWIRES Initiative, “which seeks to understand, enable, and improve hydropower and pumped storage hydropower’s contributions to reliability, resilience, and integration in the rapidly evolving U.S. electricity system,” according to the DOE.

The Lewis Ridge installation is sited along the Cumberland River near four Kentucky communities that have long depended on coal mining. The towns of Callaway, Balkan, Blackmont, and Tejay are among several in Bell County that have supported mining operations for more than a century, according to Kentucky Coal Heritage.

Rye in its announcement said the Lewis Ridge project will bring nearly $1 billion to Bell County along with 2,000 construction jobs over a three- to five-year build period. It also would provide “several dozen direct and indirect” jobs once the project is operational later this decade. The project is expected to have a 50-year operating license after FERC’s approval.