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Published on April 30th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


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

April 30th, 2012 by  

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

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species). He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. He's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

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