Morgantown, WV (WOAY) – Thanks to a large-scale development project led by Coalfield Development Corporation in partnership with West Virginia University (WVU), thousands of acres of abandoned mining land in West Virginia will get new, sustainable use. The project will receive funding from the US Economic Development Administration as part of the “Build Back Better Regional Challenge Grant.”
The comprehensive project, Appalachian Climate Technology Now will create a more sustainable future in areas that previously relied on coal. WVU is leading one component of the project called the “Former Mine Lands to Sustainable Lands” program. The program will designate to expedite the pace of former mine reclamation, transforming sites with solar, wind, and geothermal generation, energy storage, agro-forestry, healthy food production, eco-tourism, and outdoor recreation.
Additional WVU partners in the project include the Brad and Alys Smith Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative (OEDC) , Energy Institute, Natural Resource Analysis Center, Office of Student and Faculty Innovation, Land Use, and Sustainable Development Law Clinic, Mountain Hydrology Lab, Start Up WV, John Chambers College of Business and Economics, and the BRIDGE Initiative.
The Smith OEDC is involved in a separate component of the project as part of Generation WV’s GROW Now Project. As part of WVU’s Academic Innovation Summit last fall, participants in the First Ascent program receive mentoring in working remotely. Additionally, attendants participate in WVU’s remote worker certification course and get connections to the Ascend WV remote worker community, along with several other benefits. EDA funding will help fund the pilot program with future goals of expansion.