US DOE launches US$500m mines-to-clean energy programme

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At least two of the projects funded for clean energy on mine land will have to include solar energy. Image: Dominik Lückmann via Unsplash.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has launched a US$500 million programme that will install clean energy projects on current or former mine lands across the country.

Solar PV, microgrids and/or energy storage are among the technologies the programme will be supporting, and at least two funded projects will need to include solar energy.

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The DOE is looking into opportunities for domestic solar manufacturers to supply the projects.

The push to find domestic solar manufacturers for the programme comes a month after US President Joe Biden authorised the DOE to use the Defense Production Act (DPA) to accelerate the production of PV modules and module components in the US.

The Biden Administration aims to fund clean energy projects on mining land that would benefit the communities nearby, in particular disadvantaged communities, but also create new jobs and help reduce carbon pollution.

Moreover, a recent analysis from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found more than 17,000 mine land sites across the US which, if they were to be redeveloped as clean energy projects, could add up to 89GW of generation capacity.

“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,” said Jennifer Granholm, the US Secretary of Energy.

The DOE expects to announce a funding opportunity to solicit projects proposals in 2023.

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