US launches programme to transform mine sites to clean energy hubs

30 June 2022

The USD500 million programme, which is part of President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will place clean energy demonstration projects on current or former mine sites. Advanced nuclear is one of the technologies under consideration.

The USA has some 17,750 mine sites (Image: nedu503/Pixabay)

The Clean Energy Demonstration Program on Current and Former Mine Land will demonstrate innovative mine land conversion to clean energy projects, with a goal of replication across the country, the Department of Energy (DOE) said. Projects must demonstrate one or more of: solar; microgrids; geothermal energy; direct air capture; fossil-fuelled generation with carbon capture, utilisation, and sequestration; energy storage, including pumped-storage hydropower and compressed air; and advanced nuclear. Two of the demonstration projects funded under the programme must include solar energy.

"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," US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said as the DOE launched a Request for Information yesterday.

There are some 17,750 mine land sites located in geographically diverse regions across the USA, which offer an important opportunity to spur economic development and create jobs in clean energy industries, DOE said. "If all of these current or former US 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."

DOE is seeking feedback from a wide range of stakeholders, on how to design the programme to so it encourages private-sector investment in similar projects, leading to economic development for communities located near current and former mine land while advancing environmental justice. "The selected projects will 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 important processes to successfully develop and operate clean energy projects on current or former mine land," it said.

The programme is operated through the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations. DOE expects to announce a funding opportunity to solicit project proposals in 2023.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News