GO Virginia Region One Receives Approval for Appalachian Voices' Energy Storage and Electrification

(Wise, VA) April 6, 2021 – The GO Virginia State Board approved a Per Capita application for Appalachian Voices on Tuesday, March 16, 2021.

The Appalachian Voices Energy Storage and Electrification Manufacturing Jobs project, approved at $486,366 will create jobs in GO Virginia Region One in the energy storage and electrification manufacturing field while attracting investments and expanding the local tax base.

In 2019, Appalachian Voices received a GO Virginia Enhanced Capacity Building grant to support the Solar Playbook project that examined how solar-related manufacturing and utility-scale solar development could contribute to job creation in Region One. This project is a direct continuation of that effort.

This project will catalyze a vibrant energy storage and electrification economy in Region One through an accelerated project approach that provides data-based, targeted technical assistance to existing manufacturers in the region who have already taken steps to diversify their businesses into energy storage and electrification markets. Notably, each of the four targeted companies has a strong history of serving the coal industry and are now seeking to expand into next generation energy markets. Concurrently, the project seeks to attract new national and global companies to Southwest Virginia and expand tax base, capital investment, and sustainable job creation.

"This project connects directly to the ongoing efforts of The Solar Workgroup of Southwest Virginia's to support solar-related jobs in the region," said project lead Adam Wells, Regional Director of Community and Economic Development at Appalachian Voices. "Since the workgroup was established, we have had the goal to support manufacturing jobs connected to renewable energy sectors. Thanks to broad support and engagement from stakeholders across the region, we have identified the strategies outlined in this project as the best way to leverage our regions assets and gain a share of the rapidly expanding electrification market."

In addition to the technical assistance provided to the four companies, the project will also consider the business support ecosystems of the two counties in which the businesses are located, and will provide recommendations for how leaders can support business diversification, growth and development from a local government angle.

Appalachian Voices will serve the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) footprint consisting of seven counties and one city in the LENOWISCO and Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commissions (CPPDC). VCEDA, Ascent Virginia, and Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commission are actively participating in the project and have committed resources to local companies. The four engaged companies receiving direct services from the project are located within the CPPDC; these companies include AMR PEMCO, Lawrence Brothers Inc., West River Conveyors & Machinery Co., and Simmons Equipment Company.

"We strongly support efforts such as this to encourage existing companies to expand and diversify their businesses and to create opportunities for new business development in this industry sector," commented Jim Baldwin, Executive D