China Wants to Teach American Coal Miners How to Wind Farm

Plot twist.

By Reuben Brody

China Wants to Teach American Coal Miners How to Wind Farm
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26 May 2017

How do you become great?

Are you born great, or do you actively become great by learning new skills and bettering yourself through education?

That’s a rhetorical question. You always have to learn new skills, as doing so will help you live longer and stay sharp. And one Chinese wind turbine company wants to help out-of-work (and soon-to-be out-of-work) coal miners evolve by training them to work in wind farming. The company, Goldwind, hopes to do this in Wyoming, a state that taxes renewable energy in order to protect its beloved coal, despite the fact that coal is waning thanks (pardon the pun) to headwinds from renewables and cheaper, cleaner natural gas.

As the New York Times reports, “The program could offer a needed boost. Hundreds of coal miners were laid off in Wyoming last year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that national employment for mining and geological engineers will grow by 6 percent between 2014 and 2024, while employment for wind turbine technicians is expected to grow by 108 percent.”

A man can refuse to acknowledge the truth for only so long. Eventually, you have to accept realities, and Goldwind is hoping that coal miners will come around soon so that it can leverage their engineering skills toward the wind, which Wyoming has in spades. Plus, as Quartz points out, it has a small population and plenty of space for turbines.

Why Wyoming doesn’t currently embrace and, hell, encourage American companies to make similar investments speaks to a sad recalcitrance that will ultimately hold them (er, us, collectively) back from the inevitable realities of climate change and the global economy. China is becoming a new-world colonist, investing in infrastructure and renewable energy on a global scale, while we’re still debating the validity of climate science.

And that's before you even get to the insidious physical realities that attend coal mining.

Forget for a second that there even is a thing called climate change.

Which would you rather do: Work in a sooty coal mine where you can get black lung, or work outdoors in the fresh air? Do you want to breathe smoggy air and drink polluted water? Or do you want to breathe clean air and drink clean water?

The longer they hold off, the more ridiculous they’ll appear, like cigarette companies that challenged health claims for too long. The good news is that people tend to forgive folks who acknowledge and learn from their mistakes, especially if they reeducate themselves and do good things.

It’s just too bad that this state turned away American enterprises, first.

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