DOE transforms ex-nuclear sites into sustainable energy with developers.

By Oliver Townsend Jun 6, 2024
DOE partnering with developers to turn former nuclear sites into solar and storage.jpegOrginal image from:

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is taking a proactive approach to repurposing former nuclear sites into clean energy generation projects. By partnering with developers, the DOE aims to transform these sites into sources of solar and storage power. This initiative not only supports the Biden-Harris Administration’s clean energy goals but also helps to repurpose DOE-owned lands for sustainable energy production.

DOE’s Clean Energy Initiative at Idaho National Laboratory

The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) in Idaho Falls has been selected as the site for two solar and battery storage projects. NorthRenew Energy Partners and Spitfire are proposing to generate 400 MW of clean electricity on the INL site. These projects mark the beginning of the DOE’s Cleanup to Clean Energy initiative, which aims to repurpose former nuclear sites for renewable energy projects.

NorthRenew Energy Partners plans to install photovoltaics and battery storage on a 2,000-acre chunk of land to produce over 300 MW of carbon-free electricity. Spitfire, on the other hand, aims to generate 100 MW of solar power on a 500-acre patch of land. These projects align with the DOE’s commitment to leveraging federal properties for utility-scale clean energy projects.

DOE’s Commitment to Clean Energy

Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm emphasized the importance of transforming DOE-owned lands into centers of carbon-free power generation. By repurposing land previously used for nuclear deterrence programs, the DOE is contributing to the fight against climate change and strengthening energy independence. This initiative also aligns with President Biden’s directive to support clean energy industry growth and create clean energy jobs.

The Cleanup to Clean Energy initiative, announced by the DOE in July 2023, is a response to Executive Order 14057 and the Federal Sustainability Plan. By repurposing DOE lands for clean energy generation, the initiative aims to spur new electricity production that benefits the climate, economy, and national security.

Expanding Clean Energy Projects

Alongside the projects at the INL site, the DOE has issued requests for qualifications to lease land at four additional sites for clean energy projects. These sites include Hanford in Washington, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico, the Nevada National Security Site, and the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The DOE plans to announce more selections and open RFQs for additional clean energy projects at the INL site.

The DOE’s efforts to repurpose former nuclear sites for solar and storage projects demonstrate a commitment to sustainable energy development. By partnering with developers and leveraging federal properties, the DOE is paving the way for a cleaner, more resilient energy future.

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