If given 40 million dollars I would invest in renewable energy. Renewable energy is the future. and it can solve multiple problems. Renewable energy can slowly, overtime, replace the coal industry which is destroying the region, and it can create new jobs.
The coal industry has slowly been destroying the region, not just environmentally, but economically as well. There have been countless studies on the detrimental effects to the environment that coal mining, especially mountain top removal, has done to the Appalachia; whether that be slurry, polluting the water supply, or hurting the environment. These issues are discussed in many works, including the article “Show me where to put my fishing pole” and in the documentary Harlan County USA. These works, and countless others, record account of locals to the area talking about their displeasure with the side affects of coal mining. Helen Lewis suggests this begins by talking to the people to find out what is needed, and by switching to renewable energy can help solve some of these problems because we can slowly decrease our dependence on coal.
Renewable energy solutions are big projects that would create a lot of new jobs. The first thing I would build is a hydroelectric dam. The dam would cost around 20 million dollars to build, but it is the most effective renewable energy source. This construction would need a lot of jobs to help build and maintain the dam. After the dam, I would use my remaining 20 million to build windmills across the region, priced at, according to windustry.org, 2 to 3 million dollars a piece.
40 million is not near enough to completely change the region for the better, but it is definitely a start. By investing in the infrastructure of renewable energy we can start to change the Appalachia for good. We can “keep the lights on” another way.
Pictured below are examples of the renewbale energy I would like to use.