USING BROWNFIELDS FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced its preliminary screening results for renewable energy potential at 66,000 contaminated lands, landfills, and mine sites across the country. No San Diego projects have received funding yet.

Nahal Mogharabi, A public affairs specialist from their Los Angeles office, informed San Diego Loves Green that, “EPA would only have information on sites where funding is being spent. There may be other renewable energy sites on contaminated lands that is undergoing development. You would need to contact the local governments planning and permits office.”

“EPA does have a $400K grant to the city of San Diego, but these funds have not been spent yet due to some issues associated with the redevelopment agency. The EPA Brownfileds program also has a grant to Chula Vista, but no renewable energy projects have been identified thus far.”

The EPA is identifying screening criteria for solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal potential at various levels of development. They have found over 10,000 contaminated sites with the potential to install a 300-kilowatt solar array or greater. Based on mapped acreage, these sites could cumulatively host solar energy systems that capture greater than 30 times more solar energy than all renewable energy systems operating in the United States today.

“We see responsible renewable energy development on contaminated lands and landfills as a win-win-win for the nation, local communities, and the environment,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Respons. “In President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the administration set a goal to double renewable electricity generation by 2020. By identifying the renewable energy potential of contaminated sites across the country, these screening results are a good step toward meeting national renewable energy goals in order to address climate change, while also cleaning up and revitalizing contaminated lands in our communities.”

Since RE-Powering’s inception, more than 70 renewable energy projects have been installed on contaminated lands or landfills. These early projects represent just over 200 MW of installed capacity, which could power approximately 30,000 homes, and provide a foundation for future development as demonstrations of the latest technologies in both renewable energy and remediation design.

More information on the RE-Powering Mapper: http://www.epa.gov/renewableenergyland/rd_mapping_tool.htm
More information on the RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative: http://www.epa.gov/renewableenergyland

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