Biden Investing $450 Million for Clean Energy Projects at Coal Mines


President Joe Biden’s administration is investing $450 million to help create solar farms and other clean energy projects across the country at former coal mines. The measure is part of the president’s bid to combat climate change and is expected to see up to five projects taking advantage of the 2021 infrastructure law.

At least two of the projects will be dedicated to purely solar farms and allow developers to take advantage of extra bonuses offered in addition to investment and production tax credits. The White House believes these bonuses will help struggling coal communities “bring this new energy economy to life.”

The Energy Department is heading up the new grant program, and applications for funding can be sent before the end of August with an expected decision in early 2021. Governments and developers in former coal-producing areas like Appalachia look set to benefit from their experience and infrastructure in producing energy.

The funds provided by President Biden’s administration also will go towards a joint research project between West Virginia University and the University of North Dakota. These universities seek to extract valuable rare earth elements and other minerals from coal mine waste. The project highlights Biden’s commitment to reduce the United States’ dependence on foreign countries, especially China, for crucial battery supply chains.

Despite pushback from West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, a Democratic critic of President Joe Biden’s anti-coal agenda, the administration remains resolute in its conversion of the US economy to renewable energy. Biden reiterated his message when visiting the former Brayton Point power plant in Somerset, Massachusetts last summer and dubbed it the example of the transition to clean energy he has been striving towards.

The transition also has been supported by his Climate Adviser, Ali Zaidi, who noted Biden’s belief that American leaders need to be bold in their approach to combat climate change and to help revitalize the economies of coal, oil, and gas communities. His goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 and achieve a net-zero emissions economy by 2050 has guided his campaign and certainly adds weight to his words and decisions.

Introducing clean energy on former coal sites is bound to have an adverse effect on industries reliant on coal and gas, suggesting that Joe Biden is devoted to buffing renewable energy sources despite the losses. Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power have long been an issue for democracies around the globe, and the United States is no exception. The grants introduced by the Biden administration present an unparalleled opportunity for those working in coal-producing areas to develop the skills needed to succeed in the renewable energy sector.