Shepherd Snyder Published

Nonprofit Group To Use Federal Funding For Green Projects, Jobs

Two people can be seen working on eight solar panels. The two men are wearing blue shirts and ball caps.
Mountain View Solar workers installing solar panels on a roof.
Matt Hovermale/Mountain View Solar

Funding totaling $90 million is slated for green energy jobs throughout the state.

An annual report from the Reclaiming Appalachia Coalition, a group of regional nonprofits in the Virginias and Ohio, lays out projects led by primary sponsor Coalfield Development and the Appalachian Climate Technologies Coalition.

Two-thirds of the funding is from the U.S. Economic Development Administration as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), passed in 2021.

Projects include converting abandoned factories and brownfields in Charleston and Huntington into green manufacturing plants and job training centers, and repurposing abandoned mines into renewable energy fields that would use solar, wind or geothermal sources. 

Other purposes for abandoned mines like eco-tourism and recreation, food production and rare earth element development are also planned. West Virginia University is working with the organization on the mine reclamation project.

The group also plans to launch programs for digital technology and “green-collar” workforce training, climate resilience initiatives for small businesses and entrepreneurs and finance other renewable energy projects in the state.

Coalfield Development estimates it will create 5,000 direct jobs and 15,000 indirect jobs in 21 West Virginia counties. 

Another project outlined in the report is the SkyView Lodging and Wellness Center. It will include eight to 12 cabins, as well as a center for those in substance use recovery programs, on a partially-reclaimed mine site in Mingo County near Delbarton.

The cabins are meant to provide lodging for bicycle riders alongside a pavilion for substance use recovery programs to host training events and retreats.

“Our project consists of three components that will employ at least 50 former coal miners or people in recovery from Substance Use Disorder with supportive apprenticeship and life skills training programs,” the report said.

The construction is planned to create 30 permanent jobs, 60 temporary construction jobs and 120 on-the-job training positions, according to the report.

It’s being funded separately from the ARPA funds, with the majority of the project being funded through New Market Tax Credit loans totaling $6,158,000. An extra $2 million from the Department of the Interior’s Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization Program is still pending.