A new study from the journal Energy Economics has a plan to assimilate coal miners into the solar industry.
Priuses, wind turbines, and other clean technologies require rare earth materials, which generally go into ultra-strong magnets that help power clean technology. But rare earth elements have a couple of problems: China controls most of the supply, they require less-than-environmentally-friendly mining to get at, and, uh, they’re rare. So there's a race on to create a replacement magnet component that doesn't require rare earth.
CleanTechnica reports that a team at Boston's Northeastern University has taken one step in the right direction -- developing a material with similar magnetic properties to rare earth.