Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


Geography and Geology

Document Type



While much of China’s electrification has depended on coal, recent decades illustrate the country is heavily investing in and implementing renewable energy as a power source. Even China’s coal-rich provinces, like the northeastern province of Shanxi, have been making the transition to renewable energy. The central Appalachian states comprised of eastern Kentucky, West Virginia, western Virginia, and northeastern Tennessee share many characteristics with China’s Shanxi province including economic resources, climate, and geography. Yet, central Appalachia has not been able to easily transition to renewable energy. However, there are various cultural, political, and technological differences between the two regions to explain this. This analysis aims to illustrate the methods and policies that China has implemented to create a market conducive to renewable energy and to suggest the applications these methods and policies have to central Appalachia. Specifically, renewable energy could assist in poverty alleviation in central Appalachia through economic revitalization in addition to remediating environmental hazards associated with coal mining.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Pat Kambesis, Ph.D., GISP


Chinese Studies | Environmental Studies | Geology