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News Releases from Region 04

EPA and Partners Join White House Officials to Convene First Clean Energy Savings for All Summit and Kick-off Redevelopment of Former Landfill into a Solar Farm in Spartanburg, S.C.

Contact Information: 
Davina Marraccini ( marraccini.davina@epa.gov )
404-562-8293 (direct), 404-562-8400 (main)

ATLANTA – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and senior Obama Administration officials convened in Spartanburg, S.C., to host a Clean Energy Savings for All Summit – the first of a series planned across the country. This event provided local officials, advocates, community organizations and members of the public an opportunity to interact directly with the Obama Administration and local leaders to learn about current efforts to reduce air pollution, deploy clean energy and energy efficiency, and build an inclusive clean energy economy that engages low-income communities. The Summit featured a ceremony marking the kickoff of the Arkwright Solar Power Facility Development, a solar farm that will be built over the now capped Arkwright landfill, a former source of pollution and contamination in the community.

Last year, the Obama Administration announced a set of actions to increase access to solar and create a more inclusive workforce. In July 2016, the Administration announced a new cross government partnership – the Clean Energy Savings For All Initiative – between EPA and the Departments of Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, Health and Human Services and Veteran’s Affairs to increase access to solar energy and promote energy efficiency across the United States, and in particular in low- and moderate- income communities.

“Spartanburg is undergoing a transformation from a contaminated, low-income area into a livable and vibrant community,” said Mustafa Ali, EPA’s Senior Advisor on Environmental Justice. “This type of community-driven revitalization is a model that can be replicated across the country in our overburdened communities. Through today’s Summit, I’m thrilled to see this community lifted up as an example of what can happen when government partners enter a dialogue with communities and help turn their vision into reality.”

As a part of this initiative, the Administration, in collaboration with state agencies, announced a new goal to bring one gigawatt of solar to low- and moderate- income families by 2020. This goal is a 10 fold increase and an expansion of the initial target President Obama set in his Climate Action Plan to install 100 megawatts of renewable energy on federally-assisted affordable housing by 2020. The Clean Energy Savings for All Summits will help achieve the goal by promoting innovative financing mechanisms, bolstering technical assistance for states and communities, and bringing stakeholders together to share best practices on how to finance and overcome barriers to creating healthier communities.

EPA and the White House hosted the first of the Clean Energy Savings for All Summit in Spartanburg to highlight the successful partnership created by the ReGenesis Community Development Corporation with Gro Solar, Duke Energy, the City of Spartanburg, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and others to develop a solar farm on the Arkwright Dump site. The former Superfund site is a 30-acre property located at the north end of Hilltop Lane in the Arkwright neighborhood, immediately south of the city boundary of Spartanburg. What once was a source of pollution and blight, the former Arkwright landfill has been remediated. Plans call for the installation of 12,000 solar panels that will bring jobs and a source of clean energy that will power almost 500 homes in the surrounding neighborhood.

The solar farm is a major achievement of the work that the ReGenesis Project has done to promote the cleanup of and reinvestment in the Arkwright and Forest Park neighborhoods in Spartanburg. Over the last 15 years, ReGenesis has leveraged an initial grant of $20,000 from the EPA's Office of Environmental Justice into $270 million worth of community-driven investments, including: the development of over 500 new affordable housing units; the establishment of the ReGenesis Community Health Center; the establishment of the C.C. Woodson Community Center (a green recreational facility); and the creation of job opportunities for neighborhood residents in both construction and at the nearby Solvay plant.

President Obama is committed to ensuring that every American family can choose to go solar and to cut their energy bills, and that every American community has the tools they need to tackle local air pollution and global climate change. Since President Obama took office, solar electricity generation has increased 30 fold and solar jobs are growing 12 times faster than the rest of the economy.

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