The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have developed and launched new tools designed to test underutilized sites and contaminated land for solar and wind energy potential.
The tools are designed to give local communities and landowners ways to evaluate sites for renewable energy potential without the need for technical expertise. The alternative energy ‘decision trees’ leverage NREL’s knowledge of renewable energy technologies and EPA’s experience in returning contaminated lands to productive use. 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.
The city of Richmond, Calif. is serving as a pilot community for development of the tools.
The EPA estimates that nationwide there are approximately 490,000 sites and almost 15 million acres of potentially contaminated properties.
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.
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.
For more information about the decision trees, click here.
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