Kentucky Coal Mine Transforming Into 800 MW Solar Energy Facility

July 26, 2023
The new renewable energy center, representing a $1 billion infrastructure investment, will produce enough electricity to power over 170,000 homes annually

Kentucky announced its Starfire Coal Mine will be converted into a solar energy center by BrightNight, Rivian, and The Nature Conservancy, representing a $1 billion infrastructure investment. The new BrightNight Starfire Renewable Energy Center, located in Breathitt, Knott, and Perry counties, will have an 800 MW capacity and produce enough electricity to power over 170,000 homes annually.

BrightNight will also construct up to 20 miles of transmission lines to support an additional 1 GW in renewable power generation. These projects will help develop neighboring communities, provide more affordable energy options, and promote a carbon-free future for Kentucky.

"Shifting our energy system toward carbon neutrality goes beyond electrifying the roughly 1.5 billion vehicles in the global fleet," said Rivian Founder and CEO RJ Scaringe. "We must also support the decarbonization of our energy infrastructure through the responsible deployment of renewable energy. We are thrilled to… bring Starfire to life and help create a scalable model for a modern grid that provides reliable, affordable, and carbon-free energy for all."

The project will be completed in four phases. Phase 1 construction is scheduled to begin in 2025, and once completed, Rivian will purchase 100 MW of renewable power through a power purchase agreement with BrightNight. The Nature Conservancy will also purchase up to 2.5 MW of energy to support its onsite solar arrays.

"Significant investments in infrastructure will be critical to solving the climate crisis, but how we invest is just as important as how much we invest,” said Jennifer Morris, CEO of The Nature Conservancy.          

About the Author

Breanna Sandridge, Senior Editor

Breanna Sandridge is senior editor for EnergyTech and Microgrid Knowledge, both part of the energy group at Endeavor Business Media.

Prior to that, Breanna was managing editor for Machinery Lubrication and Reliable Plant magazines, both part of Noria Corp. She has two years experience covering the industrial sector.

She also is a 2021 graduate of Northeastern State University (Oklahoma) with a Bachelor's in English.