Kentucky has a reputation for being coal country. The hollers of Eastern Kentucky have made it one of the largest coal-producing states in the nation, right up there with other Appalachian powerhouses such as West Virginia and Pennsylvania. According to a 2023 Kentucky Energy Profile Report from the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet (EEC), 69% of Kentucky’s electricity was generated from coal in 2020 and Kentucky power plants emitted 53.7 million tons of carbon dioxide. But change is coming rapidly. Mines are closing, jobs are being cut, and coal production is dropping.
It’s an intriguing time for anyone looking to work in the Kentucky energy industry. Engineering students can learn more about solving the state’s energy puzzle by reading up on the work being done in UL’s Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research. If you’re interested in alternative uses of fossil fuels, you may also want to visit UK’s Center for Applied Energy (CAER).