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US offers $475 million for five clean power projects on mining lands

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The US Department of Energy (DoE) has announced up to $475 million in funding for five locally-driven clean energy projects in current and former mining lands.

The projects are located in Arizona, Kentucky, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, the department said in a statement, adding that the funding would accelerate clean energy solutions critical to reducing pollution and creating healthier communities, while meeting the government clean energy and climate goals.

The selected projects cover multiple clean energy technologies, from solar, microgrids, and pumped storage hydropower to geothermal and battery energy storage systems, the DoE said.

In a statement, Jennifer Granholm, US Secretary of Energy, said: "Thanks to the President's Investing in America agenda, DOE is helping deploy clean energy solutions on current and former mine land across the country—supporting jobs and economic development in the areas hit hardest by our evolving energy landscape."

Excerpts from the DoE release mentioning the five projects selected for award negotiation and their benefits:

Copper Recovery to Support America's Domestic Energy Supply Chain (Graham and Greenlee Counties, Arizona) – This project seeks to deploy direct-use, geothermal, clean heat combined with a battery energy storage system at two active copper mines in Southeast Arizona, helping decrease the mines' reliance on onsite thermal backup generators while supporting the annual extraction of 25 million pounds of copper, a critical material, previously considered unrecoverable.

Lewis Ridge Project (Coal-to-Pumped Storage Hydropower) (Bell County, Kentucky) – This project proposes converting former coal mine land to a closed-loop, pumped-storage hydroelectric facility with the potential to dispatch up to eight hours of power when needed, such as during times of peak demand or extreme weather events.

Decarbonizing Gold Mines (Elko, Humboldt and Eureka Counties, Nevada) – This project aims to develop a solar photovoltaic (PV) facility and accompanying battery energy storage system across three active gold mines in Nevada. By shifting to clean energy, this project could demonstrate a replicable way for the mining industry to reach net-zero operations, while meeting growing demands for minerals across multiple sectors—including the clean energy supply chain.

Mineral Basin: Coal-to-Solar (Clearfield County, Pennsylvania) – This project plans to repurpose nearly 2,700 acres of former coal mining land to support the largest solar project in Pennsylvania. At 402 MW, Mineral Basin will generate enough clean energy to power more than 70,000 homes.

A Model for Transition: Coal-to-Solar (Nicholas County, West Virginia) – This project plans to repurpose two former coal mines with a utility-scale, 250 MW solar PV system that would power approximately 39,000 West Virginia homes. These two inactive mine sites provide land and access to existing energy infrastructure that will transmit the clean, solar energy the project generates to the grid.

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