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ARC Releases Energy Blueprint for Appalachian Region

October 2006

PIKEVILLE, KENTUCKY, October 12, 2006—The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) today announced the release of a comprehensive energy blueprint that provides a strategic framework for the promotion of new energy-related job opportunities throughout the Appalachian Region. Approved by the governors of the 13 Appalachian states and the ARC federal co-chair, the blueprint's development was mandated at ARC's February 2006 governors' quorum meeting in Washington, D.C., in response to today's changing energy supply, policy, and use environment.

The blueprint includes an assessment of the current global and national energy landscapes and an examination of both non-renewable and renewable energy opportunities, based on the competitive potential of Appalachia's energy resources and current and emerging energy technologies. The framework it provides will guide the Commission in promoting sustainable energy production and efficiency.

In developing the blueprint, the Commission created an energy advisory council made up of one energy expert from each of the 13 Appalachian states, local development district representatives, and two federal representatives. Members of this group used their expertise, ideas, and experience, as well as the information gathered by ARC, to develop regional energy strategies and identify opportunities for ARC and its member states to address the changing energy market environment.

Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher, ARC's 2006 states' co-chair, said, "The energy blueprint provides an excellent opportunity for the Appalachian states to work in a collaborative manner to expand the Region's energy opportunities." He noted that the "blueprint would help Kentucky in drawing on the newly emerging energy-generating technologies, including combined cycle, high-tech scrubbers, and coal to liquids, to make it much more feasible to increase the use of eastern Appalachian coal for electricity generation."

ARC Federal Co-Chair Anne B. Pope said that "the blueprint shows the way to maximizing the development of Appalachia's abundant natural energy resources. It draws on the input of over 100 industry experts, educators, government officials, and entrepreneurs in assessing the Appalachian Region's broad energy picture. Appalachia is one of the nation's richest areas in energy assets, ands we believe it can become a leader in new energy development."

Three basic strategic objectives for Appalachia are laid out in the blueprint:

  1. Promoting energy efficiency in Appalachia to enhance the Region's economic competitiveness.
  2. Increasing the use of renewable energy resources, especially biomass, in Appalachia to produce alternative transportation fuels, electricity, and heat.
  3. Supporting the development of conventional energy resources, especially advanced clean coal, in Appalachia to produce alternative transportation fuels, electricity, and heat.
The body of the blueprint then provides an overview of the global, national, and regional energy picture; a regional agenda for energy-based economic development; and practical strategies for implementing this agenda.

The blueprint concludes that that the Appalachian Region is well positioned to take advantage of all the economic development opportunities in today's changing energy landscape. The Region possesses a diverse set of energy resources that hold the potential to generate additional businesses and jobs.

Pope also announced today a $400,000 grant competition for projects in developing renewable energy resources and increasing energy efficiency to further the implementation of the blueprint. Over the next several months, ARC will seek partners within the federal government and the private sector to more than double this amount before issuing a request for proposals for relevant energy projects.

Energizing Appalachia: A Regional Blueprint for Economic and Energy Development
PDF format (660 KB)