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Clean Power Solar panels and wind turbines during sunrise

Published on April 30th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan

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DOE & EPA Launch Tools to Evaluate Solar & Wind Power Potential on Contaminated Land

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April 30th, 2012 by Zachary Shahan 

 
The U.S. has a ton of “contaminated land,” and while that land can;t be used for many things, some of it could certainly be used for wind or solar power projects.

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.

Source: EPA

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About the Author

spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as the director/chief editor. Otherwise, he's probably enthusiastically fulfilling his duties as the director/editor of Solar Love, EV Obsession, Planetsave, or Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and wind energy expert. If you would like him to speak at a related conference or event, connect with him via social media. You can connect with Zach on any popular social networking site you like. Links to all of his main social media profiles are on ZacharyShahan.com.



  • Edward Kerr

    While wind potential is a variable (depending on several factors) solar potential on open land is a known factor. 15 million acres (if that is accurate) belies those who say that we don’t have the space for “alternative” energy production. I often think that the flat mountain tops in WV (thanks to MTM by the coal giants) would be good places for wind and solar installations. Clean energy and no “rare cancers” for the local inhabitants (mostly children)…A win win in the face of what has been a loose loose…
    Good post Zach….
    Ed

    • http://cleantechnica.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Thanks :D

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