1. Could Pumped-Storage Hydro Help Southwest Virginia Reclaim its Role as an Energy Hotbed?

    Could Pumped-Storage Hydro Help Southwest Virginia Reclaim its Role as an Energy Hotbed?

    Southwest Virginia lawmakers are looking to pumped-storage hydro and renewables to make the state’s coalfields an energy hotbed again. The General Assembly approved a bill this month to create a state authority that could win grants and other funding to fuel energy technology research and development. The legislation, which still awaits signature by Gov. Northam, carries no funding mechanism but erects a structure for the state to support an array of R&D activities in the coalfields. The legislation specifically names as priorities pumped-storage hydropower — a clear reference to Dominion Energy’s plans to build such a facility — as well as the development of renewable energy generation on brownfield sites, including abandoned mines. The bill also directs the authority to support workforce training and development of a Southwest Virginia Energy Park.

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    1. We've met with different folks from utilities to talk about the possibility of an energy research center.
    2. For years and years in Southwest Virginia, energy was coal, and that's it.
    3. Energy has long been a major industry in our area, and with our abundant natural resources, there is no reason why it can't be adapted for incorporation into America's energy future.
    4. The foundation was never able to secure clients for the R&D center, so a long-term lease was signed with a local doctor.
    5. Believe you me, we are pushing them.
    6. My feeling is when you've got a serious problem of an industry going away — and it needs to go away — but you've got these displaced workers, you've got to do something.
    7. We have an urgent need for another economic model in Southwest Virginia.
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