Saturday, April 8, 2017

Solar Power at the Coal Museum

In the Department of Consequential Irony, I give you the solar panels recently installed on the roof of the Coal Museum in Harlan County, Kentucky:
The Kentucky Coal Mining Museum is located in Benham, in the southeast corner of the Bluegrass State. Housed in what was originally an International Harvester commissary, the museum opened in 1994 and contains tributes to the industry for which the area is best known.

The installation of solar panels by Bluegrass Solar began this week. . . .

The museum is owned by Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, and Brandon Robinson, the communications director for the college, sees the irony in the situation.

“It is a little ironic,” said Robinson in an interview with EKB-TV, “but you know, coal and solar and all the different energy sources work together hand in hand. Of course, coal is still king around here, but when you talk about using other sources to start power, it’s always good to have more than one.

“We believe that this project will help save at least $8,000 to $10,000 off the energy costs on this building alone, so it’s a very worthy effort, and it’s going to save the college money in the long run,” added Robinson in an interview with WYMT.
The perfect symbol of our strange nation.

1 comment:

G. Verloren said...

Eh... I dunno. I'm not really feeling much irony myself.

I mean, would you think it was ironic to visit a whaling museum that ran off power produced by natural gas instead of whale oil? I sure wouldn't.

Technologies become obsolete. That's not strange - that's the most normal thing in existence. It wasn't strange when our country was transitioning from steamboats to railroads, and our present transition from fossil fuels to renewables isn't strange either.

People just tend to view the past as something "other" and foreign, eternally distinct from the present - and thus we find it startling when history repeats itself in utterly predictable ways. People feel anxious about traditional industries drying up and disappearing, but people have been lamenting exactly that kind of change since civilization began. But all they ever achieve by yearning for the dying past is suffering and woe.

John Henry said to his Captain,
"A man ain't nothin' but a man,
But before I'll let your steam drill beat me down,
I'll die with the hammer in my hand

And die he did. And for what, I wonder? Why, other than senseless stubborn pride, would a man kill himself to win a battle in a war that had already been lost?