The Department of Energy (DOE) on June 29 issued a Request for Information (RFI) for a program to fund clean energy projects on mine lands.
The Clean Energy Demonstrations on Current and Former Mine Land Program is funded with $500 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The aim of the program is to place clean energy demonstration projects on current or former mine lands across the United States.
Operated through DOE’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations, the program will fund clean energy projects that demonstrate one or more of the following clean energy technologies: solar; microgrid; geothermal energy; direct air capture; fossil-fueled generation with carbon capture, utilization and sequestration; energy storage, including pumped storage hydropower and compressed air; and advanced nuclear.
Two of the clean energy demonstration projects funded under the program must include solar energy. The DOE is seeking information from respondents about opportunities to use domestically manufactured solar for those projects.
The RFI seeks feedback from a variety of stakeholders, including industry, community organizations, environmental justice organizations, labor unions, and state and local governments.
Deadlines for submissions in response to the RFI have not yet been announced.
The DOE is also soliciting public input on how to design the program to best encourage private sector investment in similar projects leading to economic development for underserved communities near current and former mine land while advancing environmental justice.
The DOE said the selected projects should chart a course to navigate federal, state, and local rules and regulations for siting and grid interconnection, mine remediation, post mining land use, environmental safety and other processes to develop and operate clean energy projects on current or former mine land.
“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,” Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in a statement. “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.”
An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) analysis found approximately 17,750 mine land sites in the United States. If all those sites were redeveloped with clean energy projects, they could provide up to 89 gigawatts of clean electricity, the EPA report said.