Nature Conservancy is building solar farms on abandoned coal mines in Virginia

Nature Conservancy is building solar farms on abandoned coal mines in Virginia

By Lucy Jones  March 10th, 2022

Six old coal mines in the Appalachian Mountains will be transformed into solar farms.


Global environmental non-for-profit The Nature Conservancy has acquired a 253,000 acre expanse of forest in America's central Appalachian Mountains, home to Virginia's 'coal country'.

"We've identified the Appalachians as one of the most important places on Earth for us to do conservation," Nature Conservancy’s Clinch Valley program director, Brad Kreps, told the Washington Post. "We put the Appalachians in a very rare company along with the Amazon, the wild lands of Kenya and the forests of Borneo."

The group plans to turn six abandoned mine sites in the forest into solar farms. The large, flat areas of land left behind by mines are ideal for solar panels. The sites are also close to electrical transmission lines, meaning solar farms can be easily connected to the grid.

The project will deliver the first utility scale solar farms in the region.

"Southwest Virginia and the wider Central Appalachian coal fields have an important role to play in the renewable energy economy. Some of the region's former mined lands are well suited for solar development and by directing development towards these areas it will help us conserve the region's intact forests for wood products, carbon storage, wildlife habitats, outdoor recreation and tourism," Brad explained in a Nature Conservancy blog post.

As we move away from fossil fuels, this project is one example of the creative ways coal mines can be repurposed to drive the renewable energy transition.

Story via: Clean Technica

Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.


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Lucy Jones

Lucy started her career working as a writer and editor in print and digital publishing. She went on to create content for Australia's leading sustainable fashion platform while completing her Master of Cultural Studies. Lucy spends her downtime at the beach, crocheting and hanging out with her cat Larry. She believes words can change the world and is stoked to help Planet Ark spread the message of positive environmental change.

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