One such facility, the largest in the world, has been operating in Bath County, Virginia, since 1985, and can power 750,000 homes. As the coal industry shrivels, rural lawmakers and utility companies have sought ways to use coal mines to generate power in a different way.
Dominion spokesman Dan Genest says it is too soon to estimate the cost of a reclaimed coal-mine hydroelectric storage facility, or how much power one could generate.
The editorial board of the Herald Courier is optimistic about the project, saying it "presents bright prospects for the area's economy, potential job market benefits and energy production. Potential tax breaks, offset electricity prices, available power stored for on-demand usage and new jobs from the construction and maintenance of the facility all push the region toward prosperity."