Coal miners Peabody ventures into solar

WASHINGTON, March 1 (Reuters) - Coal giant Peabody Energy (BTU.N) announced on Tuesday that it will make its first foray into renewable energy through a new joint venture and develop of over 3.3GW of solar energy in five years on their former mine sites.

The company, which went through bankruptcy proceedings in 2016-17 and has been struggling as coal's share in U.S. electric generation has declined, is launching R3 Renewables LLC with Riverstone Credit Partners and Summit Partners Credit Advisors to develop solar energy and 1.6GW of battery storage capacity.

The joint venture will develop six possible sites located on the mining company's former coal operations in Indiana and Illinois, which are both in proximity to electric grid connection points.

Jim Grech, president of Peabody, said the partnership enables to company to create "additional value from our existing assets" and support "our own and our customers' ESG ambitions."

Peabody filed for bankruptcy protection in April 2016 after a sharp drop in coal prices left it unable to service its debt of around $10.1 billion. It emerged from bankruptcy in 2017.

In 2020, Peabody and Arch Coal walked away from a proposed joint venture in Wyoming after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission filed a suit to block it.

Riverstone Managing Director Daniel Flannery said R3, which will be led by renewable energy veteran John Jones, would "reclaim, reimagine and repower the region" with the future renewable energy projects.

Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Sandra Maler

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