EPA unveils tool for developing renewable energy sources
September 10, 2012
• Targets opportunities in California
• Contaminated areas are prime locations for solar and wind power
An online mapping tool that enables users to find contaminated and degraded properties in California ideal for renewable energy redevelopment is being unveiled Monday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
The “Renewable Energy Siting Tool,” funded by EPA, screens approximately 11,000 contaminated, degraded or cleaned up federal and state sites in California, such as brownfields, Superfund sites, and former mines. It provides aerial perspectives while overlaying streamlined information on the site’s clean energy development potential.
“Solar, wind and geothermal power projects may be the best use for certain tracts of impaired lands,” says Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “By finding these properties and putting them back into productive use, we can reduce our carbon footprint while meeting the state’s energy needs.”
Debbie Raphael, director of California's Department of Toxic Substances Control, says the state needs to reuse underdeveloped sites and create renewable energy sources. “This tool allows people to make informed decisions to do both and turn underused land into potential sources of renewable energy redevelopment,” she says.
Highlighted are 75 high-priority sites for utility-scale renewable energy, as well as thousands of smaller-scale development parcels. EPA intends the tool to help local governments and industry prioritize the development of contaminated areas. The Renewable Energy Siting Tool is being released in support of EPA’s national Repowering America’s Lands initiative.