The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) intends to issue a funding opportunity next month for up to $450 million to demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of deploying clean energy projects on current (operating) and former (abandoned or inactive) mine land.
The anticipated funding opportunity announcement for the Clean Energy on Current and Former Mine Land (CEML) program aims to fund projects that demonstrate:
- Replicable pathways that resolve key barriers to clean energy development on mine land
- Preservation of natural and agricultural resources through repurposing mine land for clean energy projects
- Benefits of integrating clean energy on mine land, including direct community benefits and the potential to achieve near net-zero mining operations
DOE is seeking well designed, financially viable projects that can be deployed quickly. Projects funded through this funding opportunity will help to create high-quality and long-term jobs, spur economic development, and provide other direct benefits to the local community. DOE intends to award projects that directly flow benefits to former coal and manufacturing communities, as well as other economically distressed areas. In addition, DOE is interested in projects where community members are partners and/or equity co-owners.
Interested applicants will be required to submit a Community Benefits Plan to outline how the proposed project will support community and workforce engagement, invest in the American workforce, advance energy and environmental justice, and promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.
For this program, DOE anticipates a federal cost share up to 50% of the total project cost, ranging between $10-150 million per award. Eligible clean energy technologies include solar; microgrids; geothermal; direct air capture; fossil-fueled electricity generation with carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration; energy storage; and advanced nuclear technologies. Eligible mine land includes land subject to titles IV and V of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 or land that has been claimed or patented subject to the Mining Law of 1872. Up to five clean energy projects will be carried out in diverse geographical regions, at least two of which must be solar projects.
Distinct from the upcoming funding opportunity announcement, OCED is also offering no-cost technical assistance to inform decision making on topics related to developing clean energy projects on mine land. Technical assistance will vary based on specific project needs/requests and intends to support any phase of project development, including concept development, planning, design, or execution.