Renewable energy projects installed on potentially contaminated lands, landfills, and mine sites have increased by 40% since 2008, a new list released last week by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows. Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems make up the bulk of about 184.7 MW installed at 60 sites in 25 U.S. states.

The list surveys progress resulting from the agency’s "RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative," a 2008-launched measure that promotes the reuse of potentially contaminated lands and landfills for renewable energy through agency-provided redevelopment tools for communities and  developers and site-specific technical support.

According to the EPA, the number renewable power projects on contaminated sites has grown from 16 projects with a total capacity of 47 MW to more than 60 with a total capacity of 184.7 MW. That growth marks a trend showing that the EPA-led land development strategy to remediate and reuse both private and public lands is "gaining momentum," the agency said.

"The locations of these installations reflect the evolving market trends, generally linked to available renewable energy resource, Renewable Portfolio Standards, net-metering laws, and other incentives," it added. Nearly 67.2 MW have been installed at six contaminated sites in New York State, and another 11 sites (15.6 MW) are in Massachusetts. Sites also exist in California, New Jersey, South Carolina, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, and several other states.

At least 49 of the existing sites are powered by solar PV and account for 109 MW of installed capacity. Seven wind projects, with a total capacity of 55.71 MW, have also been installed, as well as a 20-MW biomass plant and a 30-kW hydro plant. Systems range from large-scale utility plants, like the 35-MW Steel Winds project, to small-scale remediation systems, like the 68-kW Frontier Fertilizer PV system. About 40% of the total number of installed projects are between 1 MW and 10 MW, while 70% are more than 10 MW.

The majority of installations are also installed on private lands, compared with federal, municipal, and state lands.

Sources: POWERnews, EPA

—Sonal Patel, Senior Writer (@POWERmagazine)