NGM receives $95 million for solar project

Nevada Gold Mines has been awarded $95 million in federal funding to develop a solar photovoltaic and battery storage system at three of its active mines, the U.S. Department of Energy announced Thursday.

Nevada Gold Mines will develop the system across mines in Elko, Humboldt and Eureka counties. It is expected to create up to 300 construction jobs, eliminate up to 3.5 million tons of emissions from mining operations and could demonstrate how the mining industry could reach net-zero emissions, according to the government.

The agency has funneled federal money into clean energy projects in five states, authorities announced recently. Funds adding up to $475 million will be used for projects in five states — including the political battleground states of Pennsylvania, Arizona and Nevada.

The projects intend to support energy development on current and former mine lands, the U.S. Department of Energy announced. The other states benefiting — Kentucky and West Virginia — are solidly Republican and have been hit hard by the downturn in the coal sector.

The funding comes from the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law. The projects in Kentucky, West Virginia and Pennsylvania advance efforts to transition away from coal to solar and hydropower.

Coal employment numbers in Kentucky have fallen sharply over the last decade as demand for coal has declined. Kentucky employed about 4,700 mine workers at the end of 2023, including about 2,700 in underground mines, compared to nearly 12,000 total miners in 2013, according to numbers provided by the state.

The Lewis Ridge Pumped Storage Project by Rye Development in Kentucky will create about 1,500 construction jobs to build what officials described as a first-of-its-kind coal-to-pumped storage hydropower facility, Beshear said.

“We believe this is the largest investment ever in eastern Kentucky,” he said.

Once built, the facility will create 30 operations jobs and generate enough energy to power nearly 67,000 homes, he said.