Some contaminated sites can be repurposed for renewable energy uses; this has been done successfully with geothermal facilities. EPA has a tool mapping more potential sites.
Geothermal Facilities Successfully Repurpose Contaminated Lands
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s RE-Powering Mapping and Screening Tool, updated this month, shows renewable energy potential at contaminated land sites across the U.S. The new results map 66,000 sites, up from the previous 24,000, and include landfills and mine sites. Harvard University has recognized the RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative as one of the Top 25 Innovations in American Government in 2013.
Here are some examples of geothermal facilities being successfully sited on contaminated land, as noted by EPA: “Some formerly contaminated sites are using geothermal heat pumps. The Green Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a former brownfield site, uses a geothermal heat pump to regulate the building’s temperature. And in Nevada, in June 2013, the Department of Interior approved a 70-megawatt geothermal project situated on a 15,000-acre reserve managed by the Bureau of Land Management.” Directionsmag.com; Epa.gov; RE-Powering America’s Land: Geothermal (PDF)