October 6, 2021
Contact: Alec Gerlach, GerlachA@c2es.org
West Virginia’s Stake in Net-Zero Economy Framed by Policy Wins
Federal Resources, Support Critical for Low-Carbon Opportunities
WASHINGTON—As the transition to a net-zero economy gains momentum through company commitments and efforts by policymakers, and investment in renewable energy and low-carbon technology grows, communities historically reliant on fossil-heavy economies face transitions, but also opportunities for transformation. The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) today released a new brief, based on a recent roundtable hosted virtually in West Virginia, with insights on how the state and other transitional communities can begin to cultivate economic opportunities from efforts to limit the effects of climate change.
“The roundtables hosted by C2ES make clear that businesses and families in West Virginia face opportunities and challenges similar to those in communities across the country: They have a lot to offer in the transition to a net-zero economy, but they also need to see themselves in that future,” said C2ES President Nathaniel Keohane. “Smart investments in clean, resilient infrastructure will enable West Virginia to capitalize on its numerous advantages, including a skilled workforce that can serve as a foundation for a modernized, new energy economy.”
This year, C2ES has been bringing together state and local leaders, university experts, investors, and local business for regional roundtables to identify how policy can help communities successfully navigate the transition to a low-carbon economy. Over two days in June, C2ES organized a virtual roundtable among stakeholders in West Virginia focused on leveraging regional strengths to attract private investment in evolving global markets, and how policymakers can better support workers for new opportunities in growth industries.
The C2ES brief, Investing in West Virginia’s Future: Aligning Climate and Economic Development, outlines state and federal policy recommendations which could not only help West Virginia, but also help inform efforts in other regions historically dependent on fossil-fuels about ways to seize advantages for new opportunities in a net-zero future.
Key federal recommendations for investments in infrastructure, seeding sectoral opportunities, and aligning workforce skills with company needs include:
- Providing robust broadband infrastructure to help industries integrate digital tools into day-to-day operations;
- Utilizing investments in infrastructure and community development financial institutions to build local capacity;
- Expanding low-carbon transportation infrastructure, including rail, maritime, and EV charging;
- Boosting low-carbon manufacturing and growing the carbon capture and storage industry;
- Investing in West Virginia’s workforce to align employer needs with training programs; and
- Supporting remote work opportunities for existing West Virginia residents, as well as new residents seeking access to nearby urban areas, outdoor recreation opportunities, and a low cost of living.
C2ES authors Brad Townsend and Stephanie Gagnon will be joined by West Virginia stakeholders for a focused discussion on how climate-related investments could affect the state’s economic future in a virtual event today at 1:00 PM ET.
About C2ES: The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to forge practical solutions to climate change. Our mission is to advance strong policy and action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote clean energy, and strengthen resilience to climate impacts. Learn more at www.c2es.org.