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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 24-766



Proposed Clean Energy Campus Projects on Commonwealth-Owned Abandoned Mine Lands; Request for Information

[54 Pa.B. 3098]
[Saturday, June 1, 2024]


 The Department of Environmental Protection (Department) issues this Request for Information (RFI) to those interested in submitting concept papers for the Department's consideration on behalf of the Commonwealth to satisfy a need for the Design, Development, Commercialization and Maintenance of Clean Energy Campus (CEC) Projects on Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) controlled by the Commonwealth.

 The Department seeks concept papers submitted by a single project sponsor or a consortium led by a single project sponsor willing to coinvest with the Commonwealth to transform these sites into CEC projects. The Department owns 13 properties greater than 50 acres in size, with an aggregate total of approximately 1,850 acres of land eligible for conversion. Each property represents a campus available to the project sponsor to host an individual CEC project. Project sponsors may submit concept papers for one, all or any combination of properties subject to the requirement that a project sponsor must demonstrate the capacity to perform:

 • Design. Provides design for land reclamation and remediation, including earthworks and stormwater management, to convert AML controlled by the Department to pad-ready sites that maximize the value of potential clean energy generation and energy storage installations.

 • Development. Completes leasing agreement, site preparation, permitting, geotech and interconnection. The Department contemplates a collaborative process with the project sponsor and will consider deploying additional funding for the acquisition of adjacent properties that might be required for CEC project development.

 • Commercialization. Installs clean energy generation and energy storage equipment, negotiates a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) or response to market mechanisms, or both, that might generate income for the CEC project. The Department will require any project sponsor to invest all capital associated with the commercialization effort and take any and all risks associated with the investment. The Commonwealth will not offer to be an offtaker of the electricity produced on this site and will not enter into a PPA for energy produced on the site. The project sponsor will be required to enter into a contract and lease agreement for use of the site. The Department expects the project sponsor to consider a revenue-sharing agreement for the intrinsic value of the land but understands that the scale of these payments depends on the project sponsor's capital requirements to commercialize the property. The project sponsor should also explicitly take into account and communicate in its offer how the tax credits afforded under the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (Pub.L. No. 117-169, 136 Stat. 1818 (August 16, 2022)) (IRA) will impact its commercialization investment and its proposed financial consideration to the Department under the land lease agreement.

 • Maintenance. Maintains all systems and land development covenants made with the Department or local authorities in the construction of this site for the duration of the lease term, to include insurance, security and other requirements enumerated in the lease agreement. The Department recognizes that the costs associated with the maintenance of the site will impact the financial considerations offered.

 This RFI is intended for respondents to provide concept papers in response to the information specified in this notice. This RFI is also intended to communicate the Department's general goals and objectives for proposed CEC projects on Commonwealth-owned AML. This RFI does not constitute a Request for Proposal (RFP), nor does it represent a commitment to issue an RFP solicitation in the future. This RFI does not commit the Department to any specific form of RFP solicitation. Responding to this RFI is not a prerequisite for participation in a future RFP solicitation process. Persons and organizations who choose to not respond to this RFI may still participate in any subsequent RFP solicitation process for proposed CEC projects on Commonwealth-owned AML. Respondents choosing to respond to this RFI will not, merely by submitting a response, be deemed to be respondents to any future RFP solicitation process and no respondent will have any preference, special designation, advantage or disadvantage whatsoever in any subsequent RFP solicitation process. Respondents should not anticipate a response from the Department regarding submitted materials. This RFI is not intended to, and does not, create any contractual rights or obligations with respect to any actual or potential respondents or any other parties.


 To assist in meeting its mission to protect air, land and water in this Commonwealth from pollution and to provide for the health and safety of its citizens through a cleaner environment, the Department is issuing an RFI soliciting concept papers from clean energy project developers, asset owners, financial institutions and other relevant parties to:

 1. Ascertain the level of private-sector interest in designing, developing, commercializing and maintaining CEC projects on Commonwealth-owned AML.

 2. Solicit initial feedback on the potential use of loan guarantees to support clean energy deployment and energy infrastructure reinvestment through the United States Department of Energy's (DOE) Loan Programs Office (LPO) Title 17 Clean Energy Financing Program. Specifically, the Department seeks concept papers for CEC projects to inform how to best leverage the DOE LPO Energy Infrastructure Reinvestment (EIR) category of the Title 17 Clean Energy Financing Program.1 Through this program category, the LPO can provide additional financial support to eligible projects that meet program requirements and align with energy priorities of the United States like this Commonwealth.

 In particular, the Department is looking for concept papers that propose CEC projects that have financial needs that cannot be fully met by existing financial tools available on the private market.


 The Commonwealth has long been revered for its energy resource abundance and significant history of energy production and innovation. The Commonwealth sits at the nexus of opportunities and challenges associated with fundamental transitions to diversified energy systems and clean energy technologies. The Commonwealth holds an opportunity to leverage previously mined lands to harness growth of the energy sector, promote economic opportunities and maintain strategic energy importance in the region and nation.

 The growth of the Commonwealth's clean energy installations is advancing; however, in 2022, the Commonwealth generated only 3% of its electricity from renewable sources and 35% from carbon-free sources. Accelerating clean energy deployment in alignment with the Commonwealth's greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals and sustainability goals while preserving and protecting valuable arable lands requires thoughtful policies and actionable recommendations to improve the processes and other factors involved in siting solar facilities on lands such as previously mined lands.

 The addition of energy storage to utility scale clean energy installations has become an increasingly essential component, as market demand for intermittent energy sources is likely to come under pressure from renewable projects that can sustain at least 10 hours of an uninterrupted energy cycle. Capacity market restructuring within the PJM Regional Transmission Organization will set 10 hours as the minimum resiliency standard to fully value electricity generation for any grid scale solar project. The Department therefore considers the addition of energy storage as an essential portion of this effort and will look to innovative proposals from project sponsors to include batteries or other novel approaches such as geothermal storage or pumped hydro projects on locations with sufficient scale.

 In a recently commissioned study, the Department's Energy Programs Office outlined the myriad challenges associated with leveraging the Commonwealth's inventory of AML as part of the Commonwealth's energy transition. The report, An Assessment of Solar Development on Previously Impacted Mine Lands in Pennsylvania, published by the Department in May 2024, provides more detail and is available at %20OF%20SOLAR%20DEVELOPMENT%20ON%20 PREVIOUSLY%20IMPACTED%20MINE%20LANDS%20 IN%20PENNSYLVANIA.PDF The report analyzes the market forces underlying the siting process for grid-scale solar projects, such as land acquisition costs, access to transmission infrastructure and the uncertainty of regulatory requirements. It is difficult to make general statements regarding the viability of previously mined lands as desirable sites for hosting grid-scale solar installations compared to greenfield sites, where most of the current development is occurring. However, the Department recognizes that previously impacted mine lands could also host other clean energy generation technologies beyond, or in combination with, solar.

 The objective of this RFI is to identify project sponsors that can design, develop, commercialize and maintain projects on the following Commonwealth-owned sites:

Address Municipal County Lat Long Acres Current Use Status
23 2248 Highland Fuel Mine I-80 and T998 and T457 Wolf Creek Township Mercer 41.2043 -80.03381 64.48 Mine Drainage Mine sealing site (SL 110-4-101.1 and 102.1)
35 3425 Sheridan Bank 0 Colliery Street (north end of George Street), Tower City Porter Township Schuylkill 40.59116 -76.569 245 Land Reclamation Refuse bank material under recovery contract
53 2779 Cross Keys Basin-SRP Cross Keys Road, south side along Schuylkill River Bern Township Berks 40.41237 -75.94456 73.29 Impounding Basin Small area licensed to Bern Township;
PennDOT has recorded jurisdiction over portion
55 4346 Stoudt's Ferry Basin-SRP Rickenbach Road Bern Township Berks 40.41105 -75.96181 202.56 Impounding Basin Sand waste materials remain in basin
56 4350 Epler Basin-SRP Cedar Hill Road Bern Township Berks 40.40096 -75.96945 69.79 Impounding Basin Basin cleaned out;
Fish and Boat Commission has jurisdiction over
adjacent parcel
57 2780 North Seyfert Basin-SRP West Neversink Road Exeter Township Berks 40.30089 -75.88924 143.5 Impounding Basin Waste removal
operations ongoing
58 2839 Kernsville-SRP SR 4037, Industrial Drive Tilden Township Berks 40.56451 -75.99411 181.5 Dam Management Area/
Impounding Basin
Stone warehouse located near dam abutment,
with adjacent boat
launch and dredge berth
Area includes portion crossed by US Route 22/I-78
61 2783 Lower Vincent Basin-SRP North Church Street East Vincent Township Chester 40.20702 -75.56001 81.18 Impounding Basin Waste removal completed; Remnant lock structures on site
62 4347 Oaks Basin-SRP Longford Road and Railroad Upper Providence Township Montco 40.13055 -75.47731 64.55 Impounding Basin Waste removal ongoing;
Fish and Boat Commission has jurisdiction over
adjacent parcel
63 2842 Auburn-SRP SR 2011 (Meadow Drive), south of Landingville West Brunswick Township Schuylkill 40.61026 -76.1202 142 Dam Management Area Some purchased acreage inundated by dam pool; Stone warehouse on parcel;
Fish and Boat Commission has jurisdiction over
adjacent parcel
64 2842 Auburn-SRP West Brunswick Township Schuylkill 40.611 -76.1118 411.6 Dam Management Area/
Impounding Basin
Some purchased acreage inundated by dam pool;
Waste removal
operations active
66 2841 Tamaqua-SRP Route 443 Walker Township Schuylkill 40.75167 -75.95263 72.7 Dam Management Area Some purchased acreage inundated by dam pool;
Active desilting operation;
Stone warehouse on parcel, with mooring site for dredge
68 2790 Tamaqua Basin-SRP Atlas Road
(T 517)
West Penn Township Schuylkill 40.7449 -75.96437 99.04 Impounding Basins Waste recovery ongoing

 With more than 1,800 acres available, the Department's target will be to develop 13 CEC projects that deploy grid-scale clean energy generation and energy storage. Should the Department succeed in this initial effort, the objective will be to issue future RFPs for other surplus property and expand the program.

 The challenge in each of the four areas of effort are, nonetheless, substantial. During the Design effort, project sponsors will provide professional design services, feasibility studies, geophysical investigations, construction oversight and other technical services as required for the reclamation of AML and remediation of associated environmental impacts.

 The project sponsor also must be prepared to submit a final CEC project design and obtain the Department's approval of the design before entering the Development phase.

 As part of the Development effort, a project sponsor must manage the remediation and development of the site to the specifications of the approved design. A project sponsor must be prepared to begin Development efforts within a specified period of time after the approval of design and complete the CEC project within an agreed-to timeline.

 The Commercialization effort centers on the project sponsor's ability to maximize the value of the land and its own investment. Project sponsors with established track records in developing and successfully deploying grid-scale clean energy generation and energy storage projects will be favored over those without a significant history of operational success. The project sponsor must be ready to begin deployment of the CEC project proposed in its original design (and modified to the requirements of any design or development priorities approved by the Department during earlier phases) within a specified period of time after the completion of the Development phase.

 The long-term Maintenance of the CEC project will be the responsibility of the project sponsor. Maintenance requirements will likely include the equipment components required to achieve the generation of clean energy, as well as equipment/components plus all additional equipment components required to complete the interconnection of the clean energy generation asset to the electrical distribution system. The project sponsor will also be responsible for maintaining the land upon which the CEC project is constructed plus all buildings/equipment housings associated with the CEC project.

Specifics of the DOE LPO EIR Program

 Under Title 17 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Pub.L. No. 109-58, 119 Stat. 1117 (August 8, 2005)), as amended, the DOE LPO may provide loan guarantees for projects that support clean energy deployment and EIR in the United States. LPO administers the Clean Energy Financing Program under the authority provided by Title 17.2 Since it was originally enacted almost 20 years ago, Title 17 has been reauthorized, amended and revised by legislation, including, most recently, by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in 2021 (Pub.L. No. 117-58) and the IRA in 2022.

 The new EIR (section 1706) authority created under the IRA expands LPO's mission under Title 17 to include retooling, repowering, repurposing or replacing American energy infrastructure that has ceased operations and enabling operating energy infrastructure to avoid, reduce, utilize or sequester air pollutants, including anthropogenic GHG emissions. This is a powerful tool to reinvest in the Nation's energy infrastructure, revitalize the economy (including in communities with aging infrastructure) and reduce overall emissions. The amount of loan guarantee authority available through EIR under the IRA is up to $250 billion. These funds are available on or before September 30, 2026, after which time the authorization expires. Interested applicants are encouraged to review all eligibility criteria and program requirements in the DOE's Program Guidance for Title 17 Clean Energy Financing Program (OMB Control No. 1910-5134, May 19, 2023) at

 The LPO enables borrowers to access long-term, senior debt for the construction of clean energy projects that are challenged in obtaining adequate, flexible debt financing on competitive terms from private lenders. To do this, the LPO leverages considerable in-house expertise to support large-scale project deployment and serves as a committed partner for the life of the loan. A Title 17 loan guarantee should reduce the all-in interest rates charged by third-party lenders. Loans issued by the Federal Financing Bank typically bear a fixed interest rate pegged to the United States Treasury rates (matched to loan tenor) plus ''three-eighths'' (0.375%), as well as a risk-based charge. The LPO can guarantee up to 80% of eligible project costs, although project cashflows and credit risk considerations often lower leverage ratios with many projects ending up in the 50% to 70% range.

 The EIR projects support reinvestment in communities throughout the United States where existing energy infrastructure has been challenged by market forces, resource depletion, age, technology advancements or the broader energy transition. This infrastructure might include power plants, fossil fuel extraction sites, transmission systems, fossil fuel pipelines, refineries or other energy facilities that have ceased to operate or that continue to operate but could benefit from GHG or pollution-reducing improvements.

 These energy assets have often served as economic backbones for local communities for decades and can continue to do so with targeted investment and economic development support. Redeveloping energy infrastructure typically comes with valuable benefits to new industry, including reuse of existing infrastructure assets, ready access to roads, rails and other means of transportation, existing grid connections and water access, as well as additional use permits. In addition, these areas are often home to a workforce that is well suited to building and operating complex energy infrastructure.

 Applications for EIR financing must fall into one or more of the following types of projects:

 1. Projects that retool, repower, repurpose or replace energy infrastructure3 that has ceased operations, pro-vided that, if the project involves electricity generation through the use of fossil fuels, it is required to have controls or technologies to avoid, reduce, utilize, or sequester air pollutants and anthropogenic emissions of GHGs.

 2. Projects that enable operating energy infrastructure to avoid, reduce, utilize or sequester air pollutants or anthropogenic emissions of GHGs.

 EIR projects are not required to use innovative technology. The scope of a project receiving the EIR project financing may include remediation of environmental damage associated with energy infrastructure. At the DOE's discretion, the costs of refinancing outstanding indebtedness directly associated with eligible energy infrastructure may also be included as part of EIR financing. The EIR category can support a wide range of investments to utilize existing facilities and support host communities, including:

 • Repowering or retooling energy infrastructure, such as nuclear or wind facilities, to restart or operate more efficiently or at higher output.

 • Replacing energy, capacity or other grid services of retired energy infrastructure.

 • Building new facilities for clean energy purposes, which utilize legacy energy infrastructure.

 • Repurposing retired energy infrastructure for Title 17-qualified industrial purposes for 1703-eligible technologies.

 • Environmental remediation at sites of abandoned or uneconomic energy infrastructure and upgrades to the site.

 As described in the DOE's Program Guidance for Title 17 Clean Energy Financing Program (OMB Control No. 1910-5134, May 19, 2023), the LPO does not set a minimum loan size; however, due to some of the fixed costs associated with receiving a loan guarantee from the LPO, the LPO projects are typically $100 million or more. Thus, the underlying project, technology, transaction parties and financing structure must match accordingly. The Department's expectation is that multiple CEC projects could be combined into a portfolio that rises to a funding level sufficiently large enough to take advantage of the LPO program. With this RFI, the Department seeks to understand whether there is an interest in this Commonwealth supporting CEC projects of this nature by leveraging this Federal funding.

Priority CEC Project Categories

 The Department will prioritize concept papers on CEC projects that deploy one or more of the following technologies or project types:

 • Solar and storage.

 • Wind and storage.

 • Advanced or enhanced geothermal.

 • Small modular reactor nuclear.

 • Biomass generation with carbon capture and sequestration.

 • New manufacturing facilities for clean energy products or services.

 • Coal ash remediation with site redevelopment.

 • Critical minerals recovery (including processing, manufacturing and recycling of mineral alternatives).

 • Hydrogen production and infrastructure.

 • Sustainable aviation fuels or other biofuels production.

Minimum Requirements

 Focusing on these priority CEC project categories, the Department is seeking project concept papers to better understand the scale of financing needs across various market sectors. The Department will prioritize feedback on concept papers proposing CEC projects that meet the following requirements:

 • Substantially avoid, reduce, utilize or sequester anthropogenic emissions of GHGs or air pollutants.

 • Have a reasonable prospect of repayment.

 • Involve technically viable and commercially ready technology.4

 • Include an analysis of how the proposed CEC project will engage with and affect associated communities.

 • Does not benefit from prohibited Federal support.

 • Accurately discloses the levels of market, regulatory, legal, financial, technological and other risks.

Potential Respondents

 The Department is interested in collaborating with a wide range of entities proposing to undertake CEC project development. Potential respondents could include conventional organizations such as major renewable energy developers or real estate developers but also smaller entities that may be more community focused. The Department encourages all interested parties to provide feedback to the RFI. Potential respondents to the RFI may include but are not limited to:

 • Property owners.

 • Real estate developers.

 • Renewable energy developers and operators.

 • Financial institutions.

 • Corporations.

 • Nonprofit organizations.

 • Venture and private equity groups.

 • Philanthropic organizations that support clean energy or community development projects.

 • Community-based organizations, including those representing Environmental Justice Communities.

 • Other private sector entities.



June 1, 2024 Distribution of RFI
June 10, 2024 Informational webinar
July 1, 2024 Deadline for providing responses the RFI

Required Information for Concept Paper Submission

Cover Page (1-page limit) A. Lead project sponsor entity's name.
B. Primary point of contact information for lead project sponsor (including: name, title, address, phone number and e-mail address).
C. Similar information for any Coproject sponsors/partners.
Entity Profile (2-page limit) A. Summary of respondent's organizational history and background.
B. Organizational involvement with, or commitments, or both, to clean energy, including a summary of relevant ongoing or recently completed projects.
C. Organizational size or operating capacity, or both.
CEC Project Information (5-page limit) A. Describe the CEC project and project locations of interest. Include project type, specific technologies utilized, overall business model, expected sources of project revenue and other relevant details to inform the project scope (size, renewable capacity and the like).
B. Explain how the CEC project falls under any of the priority investment categories, if applicable.
C. Detail any potential benefits to the Commonwealth, especially with regard to the Commonwealth's Environmental Justice Communities. These benefits should include positive environmental (for example, projected emissions reductions and local air quality improvements) and economic (for example, job creation) impacts directly or indirectly resulting from the CEC project.
D. Propose a timeline for the completion of the Design, Development, Commercialization and Maintenance phases.
Capital Requirements (5-page limit) A. Detail capital requirements expected for each CEC project or total capital needs if project sponsor is submitting a concept paper regarding a portfolio of CEC projects. Include an anticipated schedule for the CEC project, detailing when capital will be needed during various stages of project development.
B. Include an explanation for why the project sponsor is interested in seeking LPO support instead of or in addition to existing financial tools available on the private market. This explanation may include barriers such as project credit constraints, high cost of capital, long project payback periods, technological risks, complex underwriting requirements, innovative
business models, small transaction sizes and the like.
C. Describe how the CEC project may benefit from, or require, lending support from the LPO and how the project might meet the requirements of the EIR Program, for example, exceeding $100 million in project size, qualified projects, underwriting time period and the like.
D. Explain how the CEC project is expected to contribute
to financial market transformation in terms of, for example, (i) benefiting residents in this Commonwealth Environmental Justice Communities, (ii) creating scale, (iii) improving private sector participation, (iv) increasing level of awareness and confidence in the relevant sub-sector or business model and (v) other aspects of market transformation.
E. Outline any current or expected internal/external sources of funding (if known) to address financial needs beyond what financial support is being sought by means of the LPO EIR Program.
Additional Questions (2-page limit) A. Is the project sponsor interested in purchasing or leasing the property to develop a CEC project? What terms would the project sponsor consider for either option?
B. Does the project sponsor want to maintain ownership of the CEC project assets or does it want the Department to maintain ownership of the assets?
C. Given that the Department does not want to enter into
a PPA and act as the offtaker of the electricity generated by the CEC project, would the project sponsor consider a revenue-sharing agreement with the
Department for the electricity produced? If so, what would be the structure of this agreement?

 RFI responses must be submitted no later than July 1, 2024, by e-mail to The subject line of the e-mail should state: CEC Project RFI Response—(Respondent Name).

 Questions concerning this RFI should be directed to Louie Krak at The subject line of the e-mail should state: CEC Project RFI Questions.

Post-Submission Process

 The Department may invite respondents to provide additional information to better understand the information provided in the submittal. The Department may also request meetings with some or all of the respondents to discuss concept paper details.

 Based on the feedback provided by the RFI, the Department may issue a formal RFP to solicit CEC project proposals.

Data Practices

 This RFI is for information gathering purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation or obligation on the part of the Department to provide funding.

 Comments received, including attachments and other supporting materials, are part of the public record and subject to public disclosure under applicable law, including, but not limited to, the Right-to-Know Law (65 P.S. §§ 67.101—67.3104). Respondents should only submit information that they wish to make publicly available and should not enclose any information considered confidential or inappropriate for public disclosure.

Acting Secretary

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 24-766. Filed for public inspection May 31, 2024, 9:00 a.m.]


1  See 42 U.S.C. § 16517.

2  The Title 17 Clean Energy Financing Program is codified at 42 U.S.C. §§ 16511 et seq. DOE's implementing regulations can be found at 10 CFR Part 609 (relating to loan guarantees for clean energy projects).

3  For purposes of EIR eligibility, energy infrastructure means a facility, and associated equipment, used for (1) the generation or transmission of electric energy or (2) the production, processing and delivery of fossil fuels, fuels derived from petroleum or petrochemical feedstocks. This can encompass a wide variety of facilities and sites, including, but not limited to, decommissioned or operating power plants, related grid interconnection facilities, existing transmission lines and related facilities, oil and gas infrastructure including pipelines, refineries, gas stations or refueling terminals, chemical production facilities and distributed electric energy assets that are suitable for improvements.

4  ''Commercial Technology'' means a technology in general use in the commercial marketplace. A technology is in general use if it is being used in three or more facilities that are in commercial operation in the United States for the same general purpose as the proposed project and has been used in each such facility for a period of at least 5 years.

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