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WV Brownfields Assistance Center at MU announces expansion

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Officials at the West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center at Marshall University announced its partnership with the West Virginia Division of Energy's Office of Coalfield Community Development to explore the potential reuse and redevelopment of land that has been surface mined.

The two organizations have worked together throughout the past several years to demonstrate and evaluate renewable energy applications on former surface mined properties. The projects have included assessments of wind, solar and biomass energy, as well as hydropower. The announcement includes two initiatives that will further the efforts and add a new project to study redevelopment opportunities.

According to the center's director, George Carico, the Division of Energy and Appalachian Regional Commission will provide $355,000 in funding for three new projects, which will be completed throughout the next two years.

"Our efforts in recent years with the West Virginia Division of Energy have produced multiple renewable energy demonstration and research projects, and we've gained valuable knowledge about a number of surface mined lands available for redevelopment," Carico said. "We continue to play a primary role in reuse and redevelopment of West Virginia's surface mine lands for progressive and innovative new purposes, and welcome the opportunity to expand our efforts in bringing new life to these properties after mining activities have been completed."

Carico said the first project will use state-of-the art Sonic Detection and Ranging, or SODAR equipment, to continue wind measurement studies designed to help identify promising wind energy sites. Carico said six sites were evaluated in a previous phase and the new funding will allow them to add three or four additional sites to the study.

The second initiative will allow the Brownfields Assistance Center to administer a grant program to support renewable energy projects on surface-mined land.

The West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center at Marshall University is a program of the university's Center for Environmental, Geotechnical and Applied Sciences.