Energy Asset Transformation
The Energy Asset Transformation Program is focused on leveraging and transforming legacy energy assets to clean energy applications. These efforts represent some of the most promising opportunities to unite private sector and energy community interests in places where employment and opportunity is on the decline. Transforming these existing energy assets to clean energy and manufacturing uses is essential to address climate change and achieve a sustainable future. These transformations will require technological advancements, as well as careful integration of workforce, environmental, social justice, and safety considerations.
Legacy energy assets can be transformed into high-value opportunities such as energy storage facilities, renewable or hybrid facilities, hydrogen plants, clean manufacturing facilities, and community spaces. These industrial sites may offer access to a skilled workforce with knowledge of industrial operations, community relationships, access to transportation (rail lines, ports, waterways, highways), transmission and distribution infrastructure, electrical interconnect equipment and direct grid connections, and potentially existing site and permitting licenses, among other assets.
As innovative clean energy and manufacturing companies fan out across the country, it increasingly makes sense for the companies to choose locations in existing energy communities. In turn, transforming legacy assets addresses the potential resistance to the decommissioning of these assets and ensures that historic energy communities have a path forward. For energy communities, transforming energy assets can provide a variety of both short-term and permanent family-wage jobs, opportunities for worker retraining programs, access to local work that does not require relocation, and opportunities to work in cutting-edge technology sectors. Importantly, transforming energy assets allows communities to claim control of their own narratives and become active participants in the energy transition. Additionally, many of these communities maintain a workforce that has knowledge of the industrial operations and community relationships that will be paramount to transforming each asset.
Initially, the Energy Asset Transformation Program will develop case studies of legacy energy assets across the United States that are being transformed. The program will fund concept development followed by pre-front-end engineering design (pre-FEED) studies where the assets can be transformed to use other sources of clean energy, such as solar, geothermal, wind, and nuclear sources, and the existing energy asset can be repurposed. The case studies and the pre-FEED work will serve as powerful examples for other communities to emulate and transition in a phased and methodical manner to achieve clean energy goals.
NETL implements this effort as part of DOE’s Resource Sustainability Program.