With Donald Trump officially putting an end to the so-called war on coal, states whose economies were hampered by clean air and emissions regulations are finally free to return to the days of rugged, fossil fuel–dependent industry.
But will they?
Certainly, the states that have long relied on coal and mining jobs for economic stability will benefit from the end of Obama-era regulations. But among those states — the overwhelming majority of which swing conservative — a select few have made strides in renewable energy, recognizing that advances in green technology are often accompanied by cost savings. Duke Energy, which has one of the largest fleets of coal power plants, just announced it will build three solar power plants in Kentucky, and it's not the only renewable-energy effort under way in the heart of coal country.
Renewable energy comes from a source that is naturally replenished and not depleted when used. The U.S. Energy Information Administration classifies solar, wind, biomass, hydroelectric and geothermal energy as renewable. It opts not to include nuclear energy, which — while emission-free — relies on finite uranium deposits. Some of the accepted sources also attract their own controversy as "renewables," including hydroelectricity and biomass.
But based on the EIA's renewable-energy definition and 2016 data, five red states turned to renewables for more than 29 percent of their electricity production. Here are those five, along with a breakdown of which renewable-energy sources are powering their state.