DOE issues RFI for $500M initiative to develop clean energy on mine lands

Published on July 01, 2022 by Dave Kovaleski

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a request for information (RFI) related to a $500 million initiative to develop clean energy demonstration projects on current or former mines.

The Clean Energy Demonstrations on Current and Former Mine Land Program, funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will fund clean energy projects – such as geothermal energy – on mine land to benefit local economies, create jobs, and reduce carbon pollution.

“Developing clean energy on mine lands is an opportunity for fossil fuel communities, which have powered our nation for a generation, to receive an economic boost and play a leadership role in our clean energy transition,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said. “The investments in the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help America’s mining workforce apply their skills to grow and deploy cheaper, cleaner energy across the country.”

A recent analysis by the EPA found approximately 17,750 mine land sites located across 1.5 million acres in the United States. If all of these current or former U.S. mine land were to be redeveloped with clean energy projects, up to 89 gigawatts of clean electricity could be deployed, enough to power millions of American homes.

The Clean Energy Demonstration Program on Current and Former Mine Land program will support projects that demonstrate one or more of the following clean energy technologies on mining sites: solar; microgrids; geothermal energy; direct air capture; a fossil-fueled generation with carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration; energy storage, including pumped-storage hydropower and compressed air; and advanced nuclear.

Through this RFI, the DOE is seeking feedback from a wide range of stakeholders, including industry, community organizations, environmental justice organizations, labor unions, and state and local governments. Input is sought on how to design the program such that it will best encourage private-sector investment in similar projects leading to economic development for underserved communities located near current and former mine land while advancing environmental justice. The DOE expects to announce a funding opportunity to solicit project proposals in 2023.

In addition, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides a total of $11.3 billion in abandoned mine land grant funding at the Department of the Interior to eligible states and Tribes to help communities eliminate dangerous environmental hazards and pollution caused by past coal mining.