On April 4, 2023, at a White House convening with energy communities, the Biden-Harris Administration announced historic new economic revitalization actions to create jobs, lower costs, and invest in the oil, gas and coal communities that powered America with now-outmoded fossil fuels for generations.
President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda is already turning the tide, bringing manufacturing jobs back home and rebuilding the U.S. economy from the bottom-up and the middle-out, not top-down, so that no community is left behind.
These actions hope to drive new investments in energy communities to support their economic revitalization, strengthen American supply chains, and help ensure coal, oil, and gas workers benefit from the new clean energy economy.
These investments build on the more than $14 billion from across federal agencies that the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization has driven to the hardest-hit energy communities across the country.
They also build on the more than $7.4 billion that companies have invested in energy communities to spur clean energy manufacturing, steel production, and critical minerals processing.
These new actions are intended to:
Drive New Opportunities to Coal Communities.
- The U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service today is releasing detailed guidance that will allow developers of clean energy projects and facilities to take advantage of billions in bonuses on top of the investment and production tax credits through the Inflation Reduction Act for locating projects in an energy community. These bonuses will incentivize more clean energy investment in energy communities, particularly coal communities.
- As part of this release, Treasury and IRS have partnered with the Interagency Working Group on Energy Communities to provide a searchable mapping tool that helps identify areas that may be eligible for the energy community bonus.
- The Energy Communities IWG today is also releasing a Memorandum of Understanding between 11 federal agencies to work together to get new resources into energy communities. Agencies will support Rapid Response Teams, which provide more targeted, on-the-ground assistance, resources, and technical guidance to communities and regions facing acute and unique challenges.
- Additionally, the Department of Energy announced the release of a Coal Power Plant Redevelopment Visualization Tool enabling stakeholders to identify opportunities for redevelopment of shuttered coal power plants and community reinvestment.
- These multi-agency efforts demonstrate a whole-of-government approach to partnering with energy communities to build stronger local economies.
Deploy New Clean Energy Project on Mine Lands.
The Department of Energy announced it is making $450 million available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to advance clean energy demonstration projects on current and former mine land, providing new economic opportunities for historic coal and mining communities. Approximately 17,750 mine land sites are located across 1.5 million acres in the United States, which expose local populations to harmful pollutants and contaminate the air, land, and water quality in the surrounding areas. Repurposing this extensive area of land for clean energy projects is estimated to generate up to 90 GW of clean energy—enough to power nearly 30 million American homes.
Bring Critical Mineral Supply Chains to America.
The Department of Energy announced it is making $16 million available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to the University of North Dakota and West Virginia University to complete design studies for the first-ever full-scale domestic demonstration refinery that will extract and separate rare earth elements and other critical minerals from coal ash, acid mine drainage, and other mine waste.
This project will help strengthen American supply chains, revitalize energy communities, and reduce reliance on competitors like China.
Building on these historic investments, the Energy Communities IWG released a new public report, Revitalizing Energy Communities: Two-Year Report to the President, to mark two years of meaningful partnership with energy communities and the Administration’s continued momentum in building a clean energy future made in America and by American workers.
To date, the Energy Communities IWG has driven more than $14.1 billion in federal investment to energy communities, including $480 million in American Rescue Plan funds for economic revitalization, $877 million for abandoned mine land reclamation, and $134 million in the largest-ever Appalachian Regional Commission awards to coal communities.
The current economic agenda has also helped drive more than $7.4 billion in private sector investments to spur the creation and retention of good-paying jobs, strengthen our energy security, and lower energy costs for families. These investments include:
- Berkshire Hathaway Energy recently broke ground on a new solar energy microgrid in Jackson County, West Virginia that will power a new aerospace manufacturing hub on the site of a former aluminum plant. Precision Castparts Corp., a Berkshire Hathaway business, will build a $500m state-of-the-art titanium melt plant powered by 100% renewable energy, which will bring 200 jobs to the site. Additionally, Our Next Energy, a Michigan-based battery manufacturer, will locate a $22m factory on the site that will produce large-scale batteries and employ about 100 people.
- TerraPower intends to invest $2 billion, in addition to $1.5 billion in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and annual appropriations, to build an advanced nuclear reactor on a retiring coal plant in Kemmerer, Wyoming. This first-of-a-kind reactor will create an expected 2,000 construction jobs and 250 full-time jobs.
- Novelis recently started construction on its $365 million investment into an advanced aluminum recycling center in Todd County, Kentucky, that is projected to create 140 quality jobs for Kentucky residents.
Photo of Coalton, West Virginia via Pixabay.
The Energy Communities IWG maintains a searchable clearinghouse of federal funding opportunities at EnergyCommunities.Gov, which has identified over $500 billion in relevant or targeted funding opportunities for energy communities – up from $38 billion in April of 2021.