Clean Energy Demonstration on Mine Land Technical Assistance
On behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), NREL provides technical assistance to communities and organizations interested in pursuing clean energy demonstration projects on current and former mine land.
Note: This program is currently not accepting new applications. For more information, please reach out to program staff at CEML.TA@nrel.gov.
The goal of the Clean Energy on Mine Land (CEML) program is to enable widespread clean energy deployment by demonstrating the technical and economic viability of carrying out clean energy projects on current and former mine land. Up to five clean energy projects will be carried out in geographically diverse regions, at least two of which will be solar projects. These demonstration projects are expected to be replicable, with the knowledge and experience obtained from this first set of projects inspiring other CEML efforts.
The DOE Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) has implemented a technical assistance program to inform decision-making on topics related to developing clean energy projects on mine land. Through this effort, NREL provides no-cost technical assistance to communities and organizations that supports the development of successful, impactful, and replicable projects in line with CEML program priorities. These priorities are explicitly defined in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and include:
- Greenhouse gas emission reduction potential
- Domestic, high-quality job creation (both directly and indirectly)
- Job creation and economic development in the local vicinity, particularly in economically distressed areas and with respect to dislocated workers who were previously employed in manufacturing, coal power plants, and coal mines
- Potential for technological innovation and commercial development
- Low levelized cost of generated or stored energy
- Low rate of greenhouse gas emissions per unit of electricity generated or stored
- Short project time from permitting to completion.
For additional information on the CEML program, visit DOE's CEML website.
Topics for Technical Assistance
Topics for technical assistance will vary based on specific project needs and requests. The following list is therefore not exhaustive and simply provides examples of what technical assistance may include. If you are interested in assistance that is not included on the list below, you are encouraged to submit a technical assistance application, and NREL will determine if your request can be fulfilled.
Examples of technical assistance may include support for the following activities:
- Aligning clean energy on mine land project plans with CEML program priorities as defined above
- Engagement to identify community priorities and develop plans/partnerships
- Capacity-building strategies to support community-led clean energy projects on mine land
- Identifying opportunities for workforce and economic development through clean energy projects on mine land
- High-level technology assessments on mine land
- High-level site readiness considerations
- Navigating the execution of successful clean energy projects on mine land
- Aligning clean energy on mine land development strategies with state or tribal energy portfolio or climate goals.
Forms of technical assistance may include one or more telephone conversations with subject matter experts, webinar presentations to multiple community stakeholders and project participants, a short report (less than 5 pages) on a topic of interest (may include lessons learned, a resource assessment, a high-level technology assessment, or a fact sheet), or an in-person visit to the site or community to determine pathways for clean energy.
Technical assistance is available for state and local governments, tribes, not-for-profit organizations, community groups, representatives from companies (private or public), and academic institutions interested in pursuing clean energy demonstration projects on current and former mine land.
Eligible clean energy sources are solar; microgrids; geothermal; direct air capture; fossil-fueled electricity generation with carbon capture utilization and sequestration; energy storage, including pumped storage hydropower and compressed air storage; and advanced nuclear technologies.
May 9, 2023, 1–2 p.m. ET
View the Clean Energy Siting webinar
NREL presented an overview of the CEML Technical Assistance Program, which provides no-cost technical assistance to applicants interested in developing clean energy technologies on active and former mine land. After briefly introducing the purpose and process for applying to the technical assistance, this webinar spent most of its time on site planning considerations for clean energy on mine land projects, using solar PV as an example technology. These considerations include renewable energy resources at a site, serving utility policies and power pricing, parcel size and available land area and land slope, soil type, water drainage, site access (roads), existing electrical infrastructure capacity, environmental constraints, and more. Altogether, participants learned about the scope of NREL's technical assistance effort, the advantages of mine land for clean energy, and factors for site planning for future CEML projects.
- Ryan Shepard, resilience researcher, NREL
- Andy Walker, senior research fellow, NREL
June 14, 2023, 1–2 p.m. ET
View the NEPA Considerations webinar
DOE OCED presented a webinar on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). NEPA requires federal agencies to assess the environmental effects of their proposed actions prior to making decisions. The webinar covered the key provisions of NEPA and the process for complying with NEPA in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, including the Council on Environmental Quality NEPA Implementing Regulations (40 CFR Parts 1500-1508) and DOE's NEPA Implementing Regulations (10 CFR Part 1021). Participants learned about the process for completing environmental assessments and environmental impact statements. This webinar is open to the public and focuses on information relevant to the Clean Energy Demonstration Program on Current and Former Mine Land.
- Gretchen Applegate, NEPA specialist, DOE OCED
- Logan Sholar, natural resource specialist, U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement
July 26, 1–2 p.m. ET
View the Potential Liability webinar
DOE OCED partnered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to present a webinar on RE-Powering America's Lands and liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). RE-Powering America's Land is an EPA initiative that encourages renewable energy development on current and formerly contaminated lands, landfills, and mine sites. Also known as "Superfund," CERCLA provides broad federal authority to respond directly, through a cleanup process, to releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances that may endanger public health or the environment. Participants learned about the RE-Powering Initiative, as well as the liability structure of CERCLA, its relevance to mining sites, and tools to address liability issues at such sites. This webinar was open to the public and focused on information relevant to clean energy project development on current or former mine land.
- Lora Strine, RE-Powering America's Lands team leader, EPA
- Elisabeth Freed, senior cleanup enforcement policy advisor, EPA
- Phil Page, attorney advisor, EPA
For questions about the technical assistance application, contact CEML.TA@nrel.gov.