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Renewable Energy on Contaminated Lands

NREL's sustainability analysis includes work with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the potential for using "limbo lands" as sites for renewable energy-generating stations. Limbo lands are considered underused, formerly contaminated sites; they include former Superfund sites, landfills, brownfields, abandoned mine lands, former industrial sites, and certain government installations.

The lab conducted the study "Converting Limbo Lands to Energy-Generating Stations: Renewable Energy Technologies on Underused, Formerly Contaminated Sites" for EPA's National Risk Management Research Laboratory, Sustainable Technology Division. The objective of this report, which provides a geographic screening of potential sites, is to evaluate limbo lands that are ready for redevelopment and determine their suitability for renewable energy technologies (RETs).

NREL also worked with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to collect information on renewable energy availability across the country, and merged it with EPA's data from several land cleanup programs. In addition, EPA applied screening criteria including distance from power lines, closeness to roads, and site acreage to identify sites that are good candidates for hosting renewable energy production facilities. In producing the interactive state maps, EPA used information on properties from several land cleanup programs, including abandoned mine lands and lands under EPA's Superfund, Brownfields, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act programs.

This information can be accessed from the Renewable Energy On Contaminated Land and Mining Sites section section of the EPA Web site.

More Information

For more information in poster format, access "Renewable Energy Potential for Brownfield Redevelopment Strategies."

To talk with an analyst about this project, contact Emily Newes via our Webmaster page.