The US Environmental Protection Agency and the the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have launched new tools used for testing underutilized areas and contaminated land for solar and wind energy potential—eliminating needs for technical expertise in various communities.
Nationwide, there are approximately 490,000 sites and almost 15 million acres of potentially contaminated properties, according to the EPA's estimates. Opportunities to put vacant areas of land to productive use are proving to be quite significant.
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The tool is being tested in the City of Richmond, Calif. under a pilot project to develop more clean energy. Upgrading contaminated or vacant lands with renewable energy can increase economic value of those properties, creating local green jobs in the process. Using the “decision trees,” members of the community can help identify the most desirable sites for renewable energy installations.
“We are extremely excited that the green, innovative City of Richmond, California is partnering with the EPA to help communities throughout the United States fully leverage technology to improve the environment, create local jobs and attract green companies,” said Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin in a statement.
The tools and a podcast on the solar and wind decision trees have been made available online.