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Virginia Tech Renewable energy Facilities siting project (VT-REFS)

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Helping communities find sustainable solutions to meet our energy needs

We are VT faculty and staff who believe that better ways to site renewable energy facilities need to be found, tested, and implemented so the public and developers are more satisfied with site choice and planning.  Our work is in response to the growing climate crisis, through which climate change impacts the whole population, our economy, and well-being. Most Americans are convinced that a changing climate will pose serious threats within their lifetimes. Sixty percent believe that climate change has begun to impact our lives already. Renewable energy production through large-scale facilities is one important strategy of many needed to address climate change. The scope of facilities that are needed is impressive.

The Virginia Tech Renewable Energy Facility Siting project is committed to supporting the transition to a carbon-free economy through the adoption of renewable energy technologies. We believe that this transition is best achieved when projects are economically viable, socially acceptable, and environmentally responsible. We support this transition by working with stakeholders to conduct research and advance best practices around the sustainable siting of renewable energy facilities.

Our strengths are as a trusted party to conduct research on and facilitate the convening of stakeholders to address siting challenges and arrive at broadly accepted outcomes.

Our Focus

We focus on early, frequent, and meaningful public engagement to create highly collaborative partnerships that bring stakeholders—including project proponents and opponents—together to deliberate and seek outcomes that are broadly supported.


We focus on finding solutions that holistically meet the economic, environmental, and social principles of sustainability.


We take a “whole VT” approach with a network of highly interdisciplinary scientists from public policy, fish and wildlife conservation, biology, architecture, agriculture, engineering, and other disciplines ready to collaborate.