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A crane lifts workers from the depths of a coal shaft in India. Energy developers around the globe are pushing to transform abandoned mines into hydroelectric storage facilities to stockpile wind and solar power. 

A crane lifts workers from the depths of a coal shaft in India. Energy developers around the globe are pushing to transform abandoned mines into hydroelectric storage facilities to stockpile wind and solar power. 

Photographer: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

Old Coal Mines Have a Place in the Future of Clean Energy

A century-old technology is being reimagined as renewables boom.

Ben Chafin sees the future of clean energy in abandoned coal shafts.

The Virginia state senator, whose Appalachian district is pockmarked with empty mines, pushed through legislation in April that encourages companies to transform those tunnels into giant storage devices to hold vast amounts of renewable power.