RD437 - Southwest Virginia Energy Research and Development Authority - 2019-20 Annual Report – September 23, 2020

Executive Summary:

Southwest Virginia has a legacy of driving energy production and manufacturing with its key role in the extractive economy. Metallurgical coal helped build America, while wells drilled over 60 years ago still produce natural gas today. As the United States moves toward carbon-neutral energy and our traditional industries decline as a result, Southwest Virginia has the opportunity to continue to be a leader in energy. We will get there by leveraging the region’s valuable assets and competing nationwide for entrepreneurs while focusing on renewable, clean and zero-carbon projects.

These “big idea" projects will help maintain Southwest Virginia’s leadership position and support a public-private approach in the pursuit of investment-rated opportunities — sustainable, renewable models that can generate returns and ultimately deliver jobs and investment for the region:

• Project Innovation involves developing the Southwest Virginia Energy Research Park, a first-of-its-kind operation in the United States, that will host companies interested in studying, perfecting and eventually commercializing their ideas. It will also be a facility that allows middle and high school students in the region to see STEM-related energy projects in action.

• Project Energizer employs pumped-storage hydro technology on a small, affordable scale and provides an opportunity for Southwest Virginia to leverage its topography and be an innovator in renewable resources.

• Project Oasis seeks third-party validation for Southwest Virginia to become the location of choice in the Commonwealth for data centers based on power and broadband infrastructure as well as the use of innovative energy applications unique to our region. In this case, we are studying the use of 51-degree mine pool water for HVAC cooling as a significant cost and energy-saving tool.

• Project Revolution involves leveraging a filtration system that could efficiently remove pollutants from the emissions of coal-fired power plants and other industrial sources, then package the filtered-out materials for recycling.

With each of these projects, this Authority’s work can help change the world, and we’ll do that with Southwest Virginia ingenuity. Of course, our work would not be possible with the support, expertise and funding from key partners, including but not limited to Appalachian Power, Coalfield Strategies, Dominion Energy, GO Virginia Region One Council, InvestSWVA, LENOWISCO Planning District Commission, Point Broadband, U.S. Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Energy, Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, and Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission.

— Mike Quillen, Chair