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In a June 30, 2023 Federal Register Notice, DOE announced a new initiative to increase energy production by making DOE land available for potential development of Carbon Free Energy (CFE) electricity generation through leases. CFE is defined as electricity produced from resources that generate no carbon emissions, including marine energy, solar, wind, hydrokinetic (including tidal, wave, current and thermal), geothermal, hydroelectric, nuclear, renewably sourced hydrogen, and electrical energy generation from fossil resources to the extent there is active capture and storage of carbon dioxide emissions that meet Environmental Protection Agency requirements.

DOE is undertaking this new initiative under Executive Order 14057, Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability. The department’s goal is to identify and prioritize opportunities where there is potential for onsite energy projects and to solicit feedback from tribes, industry and communities. The Office of Environmental Management (EM) identified about 40,000 acres of potentially available lands for consideration for development for CFE generation and storage projects. EM-owned sites identified with these potential lands include the Hanford Site in Washington, Savannah River Site in South Carolina, and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico. Additional land was identified at other DOE sites where EM has cleanup responsibilities including Idaho National Laboratory (Office of Nuclear Energy) and the Nevada National Security Site (National Nuclear Security Agency.

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