Energy & Natural Resources

A former hub of coal mining in Southwest Virginia, Wise County is now focused on turning that legacy into economic opportunity by rehabilitating and repurposing abandoned mine lands (AML). Join the Energy & Natural Resources Learning Journey to see exactly how AML are being used for renewable energy generation, agriculture, and high-tech industrial development.

Appalachian Voices, UVA Wise, the Lenowisco Planning District, and other local leaders will show you two proposed AML redevelopment sites. First, you’ll be asked to picture a Riverwalk and park planned for an 11.1 acre site that will help spur economic development by providing increased incentives for businesses to locate nearby. At the second site, you’ll learn what kind of mitigation plan that site needs before it’s buildable and what type of development – industrial or commercial – potential the site has.

You’ll also enjoy lunch at the MountainRose Vineyard, where you’ll get to talk to the co-founder about her family’s journey to turn what was abandoned mine lands into a mountain vineyard oasis. Read their uplifting story.

Finally, you’ll visit the Lonesome Pine Airport to see an expanding Information Technology industry cluster that plans to use nearby, planned solar energy generation to be located on AML. Data centers for the tech industry are already on site, employing 220 people and counting. We’ll sit down for a discussion with the leaders who helped shepherd these projects through the planning process at Micronic Technologies to learn about the biggest challenges and factors critical to the success.