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June 29 -- DOE Seeks Public Input on Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Program for Clean Energy Projects That Will Help Revitalize Energy Communities and Create Good Paying Jobs

This is a Request for Information (RFI) issued by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations, in collaboration with the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) and the DOE Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM). This RFI seeks public input to help inform DOE’s implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also commonly known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).

The BIL is a once-in-a-generation investment in infrastructure, which will grow a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable economy through enhancing U.S. competitiveness, creating good-paying union jobs, and ensuring stronger access to economic and other benefits for disadvantaged communities. Section 40342 of the BIL authorizes DOE to establish a program to demonstrate the technical and economic viability of clean energy projects on current and former mine land, to be carried out by developing between two (2) and five (5) clean energy projects on mine land in geographically diverse regions. The Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) is appropriated $500 million for the five (5) year period encompassing fiscal years (FYs) 2022 through 2026 to carry out this program.

Located in geographically diverse regions across the U.S, mine land offers an important opportunity to spur economic development and create jobs in clean energy industries. A recent EPA analysis found approximately 17,750 mine land sites located across 1.5 million acres in the United States. If all of these current or former U.S. 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.

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 program will support projects that demonstrate one or more of the following clean energy technologies on mining sites:

Geothermal energy
Direct air capture
Fossil-fueled generation with carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration
Energy storage, including pumped-storage hydropower and compressed air
Advanced nuclear

Two of the clean energy demonstration projects funded under this program must include solar energy and DOE is seeking information from respondents about opportunities to use domestically-manufactured solar for these projects. In addition, DOE is interested in responses on combinations of two or more of the technologies listed above.

Under the Mine Land program, the selected projects must demonstrate a technology with a reasonable expectation of commercial viability and also demonstrate the ability to lower barriers for future clean energy projects to access private sector financing. In selecting clean energy projects for participation in the program, and consistent with BIL, priority will be given to projects that will:

• be carried out in a location where the greatest number of jobs can be created from the successful demonstration of the clean energy project;
• provide the greatest net impact in avoiding or reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
• provide the greatest domestic job creation (both directly and indirectly) during the implementation of the clean energy project;
• provide the greatest job creation and economic development in the vicinity of the clean energy project, particularly (i) in economically distressed areas; and (ii) with respect to dislocated workers who were previously employed in manufacturing, coal power plants, or coal mining;
• have the greatest potential for technological innovation and commercial deployment including unlocking private sector capital markets for future clean energy projects;
• have the lowest levelized cost of generated or stored energy;
• have the lowest rate of greenhouse gas emissions per unit of electricity generated or stored; and
• have the shortest project time from permitting to completion.

To help inform DOE’s implementation of the Clean Energy Demonstration Program on Current and Former Mine Land (also referred to as “Mine Land Program”), this RFI seeks input on:

Mine Land Development
Mine Land Operations
Job Creation Potential and Challenges
Technology-Specific Concerns
Mine Land Program Implementation
Equity, Environmental and Energy Justice (EEEJ) Priorities

The purpose of this RFI is to solicit feedback from stakeholders, including the clean energy industry and its investors, the mining industry and landowners, federal and state regulatory agencies, state and local governments, labor unions, environmental justice organizations, Tribal officials, disadvantaged communities (DACs), community-based organizations, economic development organizations, conservation and environmental groups, and academic and other research institutions on issues related to the demonstration of clean energy projects on mine land. DOE is specifically interested in information on how demonstration programs can be implemented to stimulate private sector follow-on investments and deliver maximum benefits in terms of high-quality job creation, local and regional economic development, environmental justice and greenhouse gas emission reductions.
RFI announcement on OCED Exchange: https://oced-exchange.energy.gov/Default.aspx#FoaIdfc57cda4-4a1d-4680-86c2-e09f4c46169a
RFI (17 pages): https://oced-exchange.energy.gov/FileContent.aspx?FileID=ee3f71ec-49e4-40d3-9d27-04d10be90be5
News release: https://www.energy.gov/articles/biden-administration-launches-500-million-program-transform-mines-new-clean-energy-hubs

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