U.S. Develops Renewable Energy on Contaminated Sites


"Renewable energy well-suited for contaminated lands"

The EPA and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are looking at 12 sites in California, Florida, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, West Virginian and Wisconsin.

EPA will invest US$650,000 to pair its expertise on contaminated sites with the renewable energy expertise of NREL. The project is part of the RE-Powering America's Land initiative, which aims to decrease the amount of green space used for development, reduce GHG emissions and provide health and economic benefits to local communities.

Potential for Solar, Wind, Small Hydro

The project will analyze the potential development of solar, wind or small hydro development at each of the sites, including a determination of the best technology to install, optimal location for placement of the renewable energy technology, potential generating capacity, ROI and economic feasibility of the renewable energy projects.

Superfund sites are the most complex, and often are uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites identified by EPA for cleanup due to the risk they pose to human health or environment. Brownfields are properties at which expansion, redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by the presence of contaminants.

Some of the sites under consideration have completed cleanup activities, while others are in various stages of assessment or cleanup. Renewable energy projects on these sites will be designed to accommodate the specific conditions at each site.

Renewable Energy Well-Suited for Contaminated Lands

Siting renewable energy facilities, including solar facilities, on potentially contaminated land and mining sites, can reduce pressure on greenfields for siting facilities. Developing solar facilities on contaminated or abandoned mine land can provide an economically viable reuse option for sites with significant cleanup costs or if local economic conditions prohibit traditional reuse of the site.

These sites may also have existing transmission capacity, roads and other critical infrastructure in place, as well as industrial zoning adequate for renewable energy projects.

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