U.S. EPA is encouraging the development of renewable energy by identifying currently and formerly contaminated lands and mining sites that present opportunities for renewable energy development. The federal agency has prepared state by state maps and incentives fact sheets to provide easy access to information about development opportunities.
The attached map is a clip from google earth on U.S. EPA’s website. The map developed by U.S. EPA identifies numerous contaminated sites around the country that could be used for renewable energy development. The EPA used data from DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Comprehensive Environment Response, Compensation & Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) to establish the list.
U.S. EPA’s main technique in developing the maps and list of incentives is to marry state/federal brownfield redevelopment incentives with state/federal renewable energy incentives. The overall message being that there are may be more government funds available to fund your renewable energy project by building on contaminated land. (attached is the incentive sheet for Ohio)
Because there are few areas Ohio that have sufficient wind resources, the majority of site are identified for either biomass energy or biofuel production. (Here is a link to the biofuel map for Ohio).
U.S. EPA’s web site has information and resources for developers, industry, and anyone interested in renewable energy development on formerly contaminated land and mining sites. Why develop renewable energy on formerly contaminated land? U.S. EPA’s web site provides the following list of reasons:
- Many EPA tracked lands, such as large Superfund and RCRA sites, and mining sites offer thousands of acres of land, and may be situated in areas where the presence of wind and solar structures are less likely to be met with aesthetic opposition.
- These EPA tracked lands have existing electric transmission lines and capacity and other critical infrastructure, such as roads, and are adequately zoned for such development. The avoided new infrastructure capital and zoning costs is often significant.
- Redevelopment of brownfields for "green" energy production can help reduce the stress on greenfields for construction of new energy facilities, and can provide clean, emission-free energy.
- Many EPA tracked lands are in areas where traditional redevelopment may not be an option because the site may be remote, or may simply be saddled with environmental conditions that are not well suited for traditional redevelopment such as residential or commercial.
- There are approximately 480,000 sites and almost 15 million acres of potentially contaminated properties across the United States that are tracked by EPA. Cleanup goals have been achieved and controls put in place to ensure long-term protection for more than 850,000 acres. This leaves open many potential opportunities to develop renewable energy facilities on these sites.