Last Updated: June 10th, 2019 at 9:21 pm
Read Time: 3 Minutes
Coal has long been used by power companies to generate much of the electricity they provide to customers, and questions of what to do with coal ash, the toxic byproduct formed in burning this fuel, are only becoming more prominent in the wake of breaches from coal ash ponds.
The biggest of all the breaches came a decade ago in eastern Tennessee, when 7.3 million gallons of ash spilled onto land surrounding Tennessee Valley Authority’s Kingston power plant. Coal ash contains toxins such as mercury, cadmium and arsenic, and since the spill, 400 disaster workers have been sickened and at least 40 have died from ailments, according to numbers kept by the Knoxville News Sentinel. More than 200 people are suing TVA’s main contractor because of the unsafe working conditions during cleanup and for getting debilitating if not deadly diseases such as brain cancer, lung cancer and leukemia, according to a report from National Geographic.
“TVA has given my husband a death sentence,” Janie Clark, the wife of a Kingston cleanup worker, told National Geographic in February. “They gave him an incurable blood disease and destroyed his heart. Coal ash is a dirty dark secret that has gone on in this state and this country way too long. It needs to be brought to light.”
The problem with coal ash
This massive spill speaks to the danger of a breach in any of the 1,400 unlined coal ash ponds in the United States. There was another sizable breach in 2014 near Eden, North Carolina, that resulted in 39,000 tons of coal ash being released into the Dan River. Because of these disasters, and because of the evidence that these coal ash pits are contaminating groundwater, there has been talk about putting coal ash into lined basins to prevent that. Recently, the state of Virginia passed legislation to do that with the ash generated by Dominion Energy. North Carolina officials want to do the same with Duke Energy’s ponds, though the utility is appealing the Department of Environmental Quality’s order.
While power companies are making strides in moving away from using coal-fired plants, retiring all coal plants is still a process that is years, if not decades, away. As long as coal is burned to produce electricity, coal ash will continue to be generated, and the concerns regarding proper disposal of the toxic material will remain as well.
Solar panels are excellent alternative to fossil fuel sources
Coal ash concerns are one big reason why POWERHOME Solar wants to change the way consumers generate energy. We’re interested in providing a world where our children don’t inherit an even bigger coal ash problem than the one that exists now. By installing solar panels at your residence, your home will be generating carbon-free energy that will not add to the greenhouse gas emissions that are a known contributor to climate change.
Solar panels reduce your reliance on grid energy, which means you are paying the power company less for generating their dirty, fossil-fueled energy. In doing the right thing for the environment and saving money, going solar is a huge win for the customers that utilize it.
Working with POWERHOME Solar allows you to push the fast forward button on utilizing clean energy before the power companies can catch up. Even while power companies move away from coal and to natural gas to produce more of their power, natural gas is still a dirty fossil fuel that generates greenhouse gases. For more information on how your home can benefit from green energy, and how affordable our American-made solar panels can be, call us at 800-765-2715. There is a 30 percent federal tax credit available to those who qualify through the end of 2019, making the switch to solar even more attractive. Go clean and go green with help from POWERHOME.