Luckily, the “job-killing” and “useless” Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are making it easier for us to use such lands. They’ve “developed and launched new tools designed to test underutilized sites and contaminated land for solar and wind energy potential,” the EPA writes.
“The tools give local communities and landowners ways to evaluate sites for renewable energy potential without the need for technical expertise.”
Tapping NREL’s renewable energy knowledge and the EPA’s experience turning contaminated lands into productive sites again, the tools are sure to boost jobs and clean energy while cutting harmful global warming, water, and air pollution.
“The EPA estimates that nationwide there are approximately 490,000 sites and almost 15 million acres of potentially contaminated properties.”
“Opportunities to install renewable energy systems on vacant properties can be found in every community,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Tapping sun and wind power at brownfield sites, rooftops, parking lots, and abandoned land could provide untapped gigawatts of clean energy.”
Richmond, California is acting as a pilot community for these new tools.
Here’s a bit more on the tools’ benefits and uses from the EPA:
Positioning renewable energy on sites can increase economic value of the properties, provide a sustainable land reuse option, create local green jobs and provide clean energy for use on-site or for the utility grid. Using the decision trees, state and local governments, site owners and community members can help identify the most desirable sites for solar or wind installations from both a logistical and economic standpoint.
In addition to opportunities in cities, thousands of potentially contaminated acres in less populated areas across the country could be put to beneficial reuse with renewable energy.
The tools can be used to evaluate individual or multiple sites, such as brownfields, Superfund and other hazardous waste sites, abandoned parcels, landfills, parking lots, and commercial or industrial roofs, depending on the technology.
Learn more on the RE-Powering America’s Land page.
I'm the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular clean energy website in the world, and Planetsave, a leading green and science news site. I've been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and I've been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, bicycling, and wind energy for the past few years. You can also find my work on Scientific American, Reuters, Think Progress, GE's ecomagination site, several sites in the Important Media network, & many other places. To connect on some of your favorite social networks, go to zacharyshahan.com or click on some of the links below.