The Nature Conservancy previously announced plans for a solar project on formerly-mined lands with Charlottesville, Virginia-based Sun Tribe and Sol Systems. Together, the projects within the Cumberland Forest Project will total 1,700 acres and 120 MW of solar energy.
“Southwest Virginia and the wider Central Appalachian coalfields have an important role to play in the renewable energy economy,” said Brad Kreps, director of The Nature Conservancy’s Clinch Valley Program. “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. By collaborating with Dominion Energy and other companies on these initial projects, we hope to develop a model that can be replicated in other coal mining regions across the U.S.”
The Virginia Clean Economy Act calls for Dominion Energy Virginia to produce its electricity from 100% carbon-free sources by 2045.