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Study calculates retraining Hoosier coal workers for solar energy jobs

By Nick Janzen | Published on in Uncategorized

Coal dominates Indiana’s energy production, but the industry has faced major challenges over the past decade.  A new national study asks what would happen if coal workers were retrained to produce solar energy instead.

The study, published in the journal Energy Economics, measured the “best case” and “worst case” cost range of retraining Indiana coal miners.  That price tag comes in anywhere from $8 million to $82 million.

Michigan Technological University professor Joshua Pearce is the study’s co-author.  He says despite numbers that sound large, a single company – and the CEO pay for a single year – could more than cover training for all of that company’s employees.

Indiana’s coal industry employs about 4,000 workers and its solar industry only about 1,600 workers. But that’s not the trend nationally – which has about 60 thousand more workers in solar than coal.  The study says national retraining costs could range from $180 million to almost $2 billion.