Reincarnate brownfield land for renewable energy projects

Combined data from the EPA and DOE help communities and land owners assess whether contaminated land might offer potential for renewable energy development.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

It's hard to argue against the appeal of renewable energy projects, accept when communities are faced with the idea of turning perfectly good nature habits or undeveloped greenfields into solar or wind sites.

A new set of research and development tools from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy aims to circumvent that objection by helping communities and businesses identify contaminated or abandoned sites that might be good options for renewable energy development projects.

The tools combine information from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory about appropriate site considerations for projects with EPA's past experience turning the vacant lots that can be found in pretty much any community into viable sites for renewable energy project.

The hope is that cities can find new economic value in sites that just won't do for other development purposes. EPA estimates suggest there are 490,000 sites and 15 million acres of land that could potentially opportunities for renewable energy development projects.

The tools described on the EPA site were developed with community land owners in mind, but it's pretty easy to see how they might also help businesses assess and optimize real estate holdings -- and help them look at brownfield sites with fresh eyes.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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