A nationally recognized West Virginia University expert on sustainable energy production discussed how energy production can remain a viable part of the Appalachian economy for years to come to a group in Washington, D.C. recently.

Paul Ziemkiewicz , director of the West Virginia Water Research Institute at WVU , addressed the Washington Coal Club about new innovations for renewable energy resources on mine-scarred lands at the groups monthly luncheon forum. Coal Club members heard about the work WV WRI is doing on keeping energy production in the Appalachian economy viable.

Ziemkiewicz, who is recognized nationally and internationally for his work in mine land reclamation, described WV WRI studies that could lead to sustainable energy production on former mine sites. Many of these sites offer opportunities for the development of renewable energy resources such as biomass, wind and solar generated power. The strategy has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lessen our dependence on foreign sources of energy while helping to support rural economies, said Ziemkiewicz.

For example, Ziemkiewicz noted that biofuel production is particularly attractive in West Virginia because the regions warm, wet weather is well suited to forage production; West Virginia is centrally located to U.S. energy markets; and biofuel production on mined lands does not compete with food crops being produced on agricultural lands.

Ziemkiewiczs presentation is available at http://wvwri.nrcce.wvu.edu .The WV WRI is a program of the National Research Center for Coal and Energy at WVU . It coordinates programs focused on preserving and restoring the natural environment through research and partnerships with industry, government agencies, academia and the public. Using the expertise of faculty from across the campus of WVU , many of the Institutes programs focus on solving environmental problems associated with energy production in the Appalachian Region.

The Washington Coal Club is a District of Columbia non-profit organization which meets monthly to provide a forum with knowledgeable speakers to discuss coal and industry related matters.The diverse membership includes coal producers, users and transporters, federal and state legislators, associations focused on coals role in the American economy, researchers, and policy makers.