Rivian and partners are turning a huge Kentucky coal mine into an 800 MW solar farm

Rivian, BrightNight, and The Nature Conservancy will together turn one of the largest coal mines in the US into Kentucky’s largest solar farm.

Starfire Mine used to be one of the largest coal mines in the US. And now, global renewable power producer BrightNight’s CEO Martin Hermann, Rivian’s founder and CEO RJ Scaringe, and The Nature Conservancy’s CEO Jennifer Morris announced today that all three companies will work together to transform Kentucky’s Starfire into a solar farm.

Rivian and The Nature Conservancy collaborated to choose “a clean energy project that would accelerate an equitable, science-based clean energy transition that maximizes positive impacts on climate, conservation, and communities,” and they selected BrightNight to be the Starfire solar project’s developer.

Once it’s online, the 800-megawatt (MW) “BrightNight Starfire Renewable Energy Center” will produce enough electricity to power over 170,000 households per year.

The $1 billion investment will be the largest clean energy project in Kentucky and one of the largest in the US to be built on former mine lands.

And even better, BrightNight is going to construct a transmission line that’s up to 20 miles long, which will enable an additional 1 GW of renewable power generation to be built in the region in the future.

Phase 1 construction – there will be four phases – will begin in 2025. Rivian is going to buy 100 MW of renewable power from Phase 1 through a power purchase agreement (PPA) with BrightNight. That’s going to produce enough energy to power up to 450 million miles of clean energy driving annually. Scaringe said:

Shifting our energy system to carbon neutrality goes beyond electrifying the roughly 1.5 billion vehicles in the global fleet. We must also support the decarbonization of our grid and responsible deployment of renewable energy.

The Nature Conservancy, a global environmental nonprofit, also has a PPA for up to 2.5 MW to complement its onsite solar farms.

Read more: Rivian latest to climb aboard the NACS hype train, will offer Tesla Supercharger access to drivers

Photo: Dean Hill/The Nature Conservancy

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