ARC awards $20M to accelerate green textile manufacturing, green energy technology in southern and central Appalachia
The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) recently awarded $20 million for two new projects that will bolster green “upcycling” textile manufacturing and smart grid technologies across Appalachian North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
The projects are supported through ARC’s Appalachian Regional Initiative for Stronger Economies (ARISE) funding opportunity, which drives large-scale economic transformation through multi-state collaboration:
• A $10 million ARISE grant to The Industrial Commons of Morganton, N.C. will construct a 40,000 square-foot upcycling textile manufacturing hub, create over 80 new jobs and retain another 530, train hundreds of students and workers about advanced manufacturing, establish a textile supply chain, and connect entrepreneurs in Appalachian North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Through its workforce and education training approach, the project will prepare the next generation of workers to grow the upcycling textile industry in Southern Appalachia.
• A $10 million ARISE grant to Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tenn. will help rural electric utilities and energy startups deploy smart grid technologies by providing grid modeling support across Appalachian Tennessee, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Providing grid modeling support will help remove barriers to deploying green, smart grid technologies such as electronic vehicle (EV) charging stations, wind farms, solar photovoltaic arrays and battery storage. This work is also expected to benefit the expansion of battery manufacturing in Appalachia to fuel economic growth.
“The work of our ARISE grantees will not only support economic development and encourage collaboration in North Carolina and Tennessee, but will help deploy new technology that will be the catalyst for the next era of energy and manufacturing across our Appalachian states,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “It is critically important that we focus on the future of energy diversification, while supporting the Appalachian Region’s longtime role of maintaining America’s energy independence.”
The projects are funded through ARISE, ARC’s initiative to drive large-scale, regional economic transformation through multi-state collaborative projects across Appalachia. Using funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, ARC launched ARISE in August of 2022 to strengthen Appalachian business and industry, and to grow and support the development of new economic opportunities across multiple states. A total of $227 million has been made available through ARISE to date.
“President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is growing the economy from the bottom up and middle out, bringing good-paying jobs to communities that have too long been overlooked,” said Mitch Landrieu, Senior Advisor to the President and White House Infrastructure Coordinator. “These new ARISE awards will expand opportunity, boost domestic manufacturing, and bring the benefits of a clean energy economy to communities in Southern Appalachia.”
“We’re seeing new industries investing in Kentucky and Appalachia, bringing opportunity to our people and communities,” said ARC 2023 States’ Co-Chair, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear. “These ARISE funds are helping to ensure our people are ready and trained for the new jobs coming to our region. A job brings dignity and stability, and everyone in Appalachia deserves access to a good job right in their own community.”
Learn more about ARISE and the recent updates to the application process: www.arc.gov/ARISE.
About the Appalachian Regional Commission: The Appalachian Regional Commission is an economic development entity of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 423 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.