A New Economy for Appalachia


America’s energy landscape has changed dramatically in recent years, resulting in substantial economic impacts in Central Appalachia, which has historically been driven by the coal industry. The inevitable decline of the coal industry is causing hardship for many families in the region and serves as a wake-up call that now is the time to diversify our economy.

2023 Unity Listening Sessions

SWVA residents: join us at a series of community listening sessions to discuss life in your community, visions for the future, and ways that organizations like ours can help make those visions a reality.

Learn more

A window of opportunity has opened for Central Appalachia. Recognizing this, a growing number of local residents, elected officials, economic development leaders and institutions are making choices to move toward a new economy, and calling for policies and ways of thinking to carry the region into a future of economic resilience and shared prosperity.

Appalachian Voices is integrally involved in this challenge, bringing to bear the four key principles of community engagement, economic diversification, land restoration and growing the clean energy sector. Our New Economy for Appalachia program is based out of our Norton, Va., office in the heart of Southwest Virginia’s coal country.

We facilitate opportunities for residents from all walks of life and with diverse backgrounds and perspectives to become more engaged in sharing ideas and making decisions about their economic future. We hosted community visioning forums and built an online “wiki” site to provide citizens an opportunity to make their voices heard. In 2016, we participated in the University of Virginia College at Wise’s “Economic Forum of 2016,” a first-ever event of its scope, drawing hundreds of citizens, economic development experts and others.

While our efforts are focused in Southwest Virginia, we recognize that the movement for a just transition away from the coal economy is a regional one, and closely collaborate with partner groups working toward similar goals. Together with citizens, leaders and organizations across Central Appalachia, we are pressing for increased federal funding to help mountain communities diversify their economies by transforming previously mined lands into sites for sensible economic development, and working to bring investments in solar and other renewable energies to the region.

Appalachian Solar Finance Fund

We help manage the Appalachian Solar Finance Fund, which catalyzes solar development in coal-impacted communities across Central Appalachia. MORE

Land Restoration

Repurposing abandoned coal mines for economic projects like solar facilities, outdoor recreation and sustainable agriculture holds tremendous promise for the region. MORE

New Economy Network

A group of local citizens that focuses on sustainable economic development and transition in Southwest Virginia’s coalfields. MORE

Southwest Virginia

Appalachian Voices is helping lead an effort to create a “roadmap” for establishing Southwest Virginia as a solar industry hub. MORE

cover image of white paper with title and photo of mature forest on former mine landReforesting Mine Lands

A special report researching how carbon offset markets could help reforest mine land in Central Appalachia. MORE

Our Mountain Ascent newsletter celebrates the victories in our efforts to build a new economy in the coalfields.

Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube