Superfund clean up sites and brownfields are nasty business when it comes to what to do with them. They are typically loaded down with toxic chemicals and other unsavory materials and cost lots and lots of money to clean up. There’s also the question of what to do with the land after it is cleaned up. One possibility? Renewable energy developments. That is at least the idea anyhow behind a study being done jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). It is part of the RE-Powering America’s Land initiative.
This study, pairing the “EPA’s expertise on contaminated sites with the renewable energy expertise of NREL,” is looking at a dozen contaminated sites nationwide for the potential development of wind, solar, or small hydro projects. These sites, located in California, Florida, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, are already cleaned up, or are in various stages of assessment or cleanup.
Projects at these sites “will be designed to accommodate” conditions as they currently exist. The focuses of study at each of these locations “will include determining the best renewable energy technology for the site, the optimal location for placement of the renewable energy technology on the site, potential energy generating capacity, the return on the investment, and the economic feasibility of the renewable energy projects.”