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Training Today's Workforce, Educating Tomorrow's Experts

There are many detrimental impacts that the use of coal has on the environment and the planet as a whole. Not only is it a limited resource, but burning coal also releases airborne toxins into the atmosphere. This can include but is not limited to: mercury, lead, and sulfur dioxide. As a result, these toxins have resulted in health related issues such as asthma, brain damage, heart problems, and has even been linked to cancer. More than half of the waste from burning coal ends up in bodies of water or landfills. Over time this can leach into drinking water supplies. Coal use can also lead to the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which warms the Earth above its normal temperature and has environmental consequences such as drought, sea level rise, flooding, extreme weather, and more. More so than ever, a switch to cleaner sources of energy is desperately needed in order to avoid some of coal’s worst impacts. Many big companies, such as Intel, Kohl’s, and Apple have already made the switch, but how do we continue this transition to renewable energy?

Education is the key. Knowledge has the power to reshape the way one thinks, and can bring awareness to sustainability and can help others to recognize the importance of implementing renewable energy practices in the near future. One company, Enel Green Power (EGP), is doing just that. Not only is EGP generating energy that includes a mix of wind, solar, hydroelectric, and geothermal, and obtaining the production goal of being one hundred percent sustainable, but they are also supporting and working closely with schools in the communities that they operate in. EGP is working to educate students about ways to generate energy sustainably, stimulating interest and educating teachers in STEM subjects, and raising public awareness about renewable energy. In addition to educating the younger generation, however, EGP is also training the current workforce required to run these clean energy plants, and helping workers transition from oil, gas, and coal jobs to careers in clean energy. According to writer Jon Heggie in an article for National Geographic, “A World Wildlife Fund report projects that by 2050 all of the world’s energy needs could be met by renewable sources. For that to happen we need to inspire and equip today’s generation to be tomorrow’s renewable energy experts”. In order to avoid coal’s worst consequences, we need to complete the switch to renewable energy sooner rather than later. The education of both our current workforce and our younger generation is and will be a huge player in this transition, and in the end will make the world a better, and healthier, place for everyone to live in. To read and learn more about what EGP is doing, visit


1. “Making the Change: Breaking Our Fossil Fuel Habit” National Geographic Science.

2. “Coal and the Environment - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)” Energy Explained.

3. “Coal Power Impacts” Union of Concerned Scientists.

4. “Q&A: Stanford Expert Explains Why We Continue Burning Coal for Energy” Stanford University.

5. “Enel Green Power, the Platform Dedicated to Renewables” Enel Green Power.

6. “Five Major Businesses Powered by Renewable Energy” The Climate Reality Project.

7. “Why we still mine coal” NPR.


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