- US DOE has opened a funding round for clean energy demonstration projects on current and former mine lands
- Of the 5 projects to be selected, at least 2 need to incorporate solar energy technology
- Eligible projects stand to win between $10 million and $150 million out of $450 million funding budget
- Successful implementation of these projects will enable replication of similar facilities across the nation
Estimating up to 90 GW of clean energy capacity generation on some 17,750 mine land sites located across 1.5 million acres of the US if repurposed, the Department of Energy (DOE) has announced funding support of $450 million to 5 such demonstration projects on current and former mine lands.
Of the eligible projects, at least 2 should use solar energy technology. These can include clean energy projects that can aggregate multiple solar projects/sites.
Apart from solar, other eligible technologies that stand to win this funding are microgrids, geothermal, direct air capture, energy storage, advanced nuclear technologies and fossil-fueled electricity generation with carbon capture, utilization and sequestration.
Part of President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, funds from the $450 million facility will range from $10 million to $150 million, covering up to 50% of the project cost (see $500 Million For Clean Energy On Mine Land).
To be considered, projects need to demonstrate replicable pathways that resolve key barriers to expanded clean energy development on mind land. These should ensure preservation of natural and agricultural resources during repurposing process.
Projects should demonstrate benefits of integrating clean energy facilities on mind land to mine operations, local energy infrastructure and to the local mining communities.
If these demonstration projects are successful in leveraging mine lands for clean energy, the same model is then planned to be broadly replication across the country.
DOE will accept concept papers from interested applicants till May 11, 2023 and full applications will be admitted till August 31, 2023, according to the funding announcement.
Solar module manufacturing proposals for the US have been piling up ever since the country cleared its Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Additionally, to be able to achieve a decarbonized grid by 2035, the government is making efforts to provide avenues for these panels to be installed. In December 2022, it awarded 6 solar energy projects to be installed on agricultural land to create replicable models for agrivoltaics to eventually benefit farmers (see $8 Million US Government Grant For Agrivoltaic Projects).