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DOE Invests $800,000 for Workforce Development Opportunities in Energy Communities Across the United States

By February 5, 2024No Comments

Article originally published: energy.gov on January 11, 2024

Eight local government and non-profit organizations will receive funding and technical assistance toward repurposing existing energy facilities, equipment, and infrastructure

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) today announced $800,000 in federal funding for eight local government and non-profit organizations representing communities across the country, from Alaska to Pennsylvania, that will each create a roadmap toward repurposing their existing energy assets. The Capacity Building for Repurposing Energy Assets initiative will assist these communities, where a significant portion of their local economy has historically been supported by energy assets, such as coal, oil, and/or natural gas power facilities and accompanying equipment and infrastructure. This funding will help the communities build technical capacity and develop a workforce necessary to help revitalize energy systems, address environmental impacts, and tackle challenges associated with energy assets that have been retired, or are slated for retirement. This effort advances FECM’s mission of minimizing environmental and climate impacts of energy systems and industrial processes, while working to achieve net-zero emissions across our economy. It also supports DOE’s broader mission of ensuring efficient transformation of the energy system, while prioritizing labor and community engagement.

“We’re excited to partner with energy communities across the nation as they advance plans to repurpose their energy assets and develop new infrastructure as we continue to work toward a clean energy and industrial economy,” said Brad Crabtree, Assistant Secretary of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management. “The local initiatives funded through this program will help drive regional economic growth and technological innovation, while capitalizing on the skillsets of the existing workforce, providing new jobs and opportunities in areas such as sustainable energy technology development and advanced manufacturing.”

The retirement of energy assets means that energy transmission and distribution infrastructure, electrical interconnection equipment, site and permitting licenses, and other related infrastructure may be available for alternative uses. At the same time, these communities must find opportunities to replace lost revenues and provide jobs for highly specialized workers. The Capacity Building for Repurposing Energy Assets initiative is providing these communities access to planning and other resources they need to develop a clean energy roadmap—giving them the chance to be active participants in crafting their own economic future.

The following organizations each were selected to receive $100,000 in federal funding for achieving development milestones toward plans for repurposing their community’s energy assets:

  • Beaver County Corporation for Economic Development (Shippingport, Pennsylvania) is planning to develop the multi-hundred-acre Shippingport Industrial Park to create a new epicenter for Beaver County and the greater Pittsburgh region, targeting the manufacturing, energy, construction, and transportation/warehousing sectors.
  • The City of Beulah, Department of Economic Development (Beulah, North Dakota) will partner with North Dakota’s Building Trades Unions, the Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College, and Talon Metals to implement a program to recruit, train, and place Native Americans in union jobs in the construction industry and operations such as the Talon Metals processing facility.
  • Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado (Craig, Colorado) will bring together a diverse range of community stakeholders, including local government officials, business leaders, representatives from affected industries, environmental groups, and residents to develop a transformation plan for decommissioning of the Craig Station Power Plant, planned for retirement in 2025.
  • Grow Rural PA (Ridgeway, Pennsylvania) plans to support the rural communities of Mountain View, Womer, and Swampoodle through the development of new green hydrogen infrastructure to anchor feedstock production for regional advanced manufacturing.
  • Floyd County Fiscal Court (Prestonsburg, Kentucky) plans to repurpose some coal mining sites (with more than 100 closed since 2014) for economic development through metals manufacturing and others for future economic growth.
  • Southeastern Utah Economic Development District (Price, Utah) plans to commission a nuclear powerplant, repowering the Hunter Power Plant in Castle Dale, Utah and validating the design, construction, and operational features of the Natrium demonstration project in Kemmerer, Wyoming.
  • Alaska Municipal League (Juneau, Alaska) plans to support efforts to retire a coal-fired power plant in Healy, Alaska and develop a new battery energy storage system and wind project, providing community engagement, strategies for economic and workforce development activities, and lessons learned.
  • The Center for Applied Research and Technology, Inc.(Bluefield, West Virginia) plans to coordinate efforts with the decommissioning of coal-fired power plants such as the plant in Glen Lyn, Virginia, while also exploring options for developing building material components and other useful products made from legacy coal combustion residuals at nearby manufacturing sites.

The Capacity Building for Repurposing Energy Assets initiative is managed by ENERGYWERX in partnership with DOE, a collaboration made possible through an innovative Partnership Intermediary Agreement set up by DOE’s Office of Technology Transitions. This agreement enables ENERGYWERX to broaden DOE’s engagement with innovative organizations and non-traditional partners, facilitating the rapid development, scaling, and deployment of clean energy solutions.

DOE intends to re-open the Capacity Building for Repurposing Energy Assets program for additional submissions in early 2024. Subsequent updates and announcements for the this initiative will be posted on the ENERGYWERX website. Questions about the initiative should be submitted to info@energywerx.org.

FECM minimizes environmental and climate impacts of fossil fuels and industrial processes while working to achieve net-zero emissions across the U.S. economy. Priority areas of technology work include carbon capture, carbon conversion, carbon dioxide removal, carbon dioxide transport and storage, hydrogen production with carbon management, methane emissions reduction, and critical minerals production. To learn more, visit the FECM websitesign up for FECM news announcements, and visit the National Energy Technology Laboratory website

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