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Redevelopment Projects Planned for Surface-Mined Lands

On December 4, 2013

The West Virginia Division of Energy’s Office of Coalfield Community Development recently expanded its partnership with the West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center at Marshall University in an effort to explore the possibility of redeveloping land that has been surface-mined.

The Division of Energy as well as the Appalachian Regional Commission are providing $355,000 to fund three new projects over the next two years. The goal for these projects is to bring new life to lands that have been damaged due to surface mining, said to center director George Carico.

“Our efforts in recent years with the West Virginia Division of Energy have produced multiple renewable energy demonstration and research projects,” Carico said, “and we’ve gained valuable knowledge about a number of surface-mined lands available for redevelopment.”

The first project will utilize state-of-the-art technology known as SODAR, or Sonic Detection and Ranging equipment, to study wind measurements and help identify promising sites for developing wind-powered energy. Six surface-mined sites have already been evaluated in a previous study, and the new funding will allow them to study up to four more.

The second project will focus on starting a grant program targeted toward supporting renewable energy on surface-mined land. The Brownfields Assistance Center will be offering competitive grants of up to $40,000 to projects that have the best potential to yield renewable energy from biomass, wind or solar sources, according to its press release.

The third project will study other options for redeveloping surface-mined land to meet local or regional needs. Options include redeveloping the area for commercial or industrial applications, housing and recreational use, or for agricultural development.

Jeremy Wright can be reached at wright75@marshall.edu.

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