As part of its RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative (“RE-Powering Initiative”), the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) has released an updated RE-Powering Mapper (“Mapper”) tool to assist with redevelopment of contaminated sites with renewable energy. EPA’s RE-Powering Initiative promotes the reuse of potentially contaminated lands, landfills, and mine sites for renewable energy through a combination of tailored redevelopment tools for communities and developers, as well as site-specific technical support.

The Mapper tool provides preliminary screening results for renewable energy potential at contaminated lands, landfills and mine sites tracked by the EPA and some state agencies. The updated Mapper now includes more than 66,000 sites, utilizing databases from EPA, as well as California, Hawaii, Oregon, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, West Virginia and Virginia. Many contaminated sites are well-suited for renewable energy development because they are: often located near critical infrastructure, such as electric transmission lines and roads; located in areas with high energy demand; and offered at low price compared to undeveloped lands.

According to data collected as part of the RE-Powering initiative, EPA has identified six sites where renewable energy projects have been sited on potentially contaminated lands, comprising a total installed capacity of 67.2 megawatts. Phillips Lytle represented the project developer in one of such projects, the 20 MW Steel Winds Project, built on the former Bethlehem Steel Manufacturing Plant in Lackawanna, New York. The Steel Winds Project was the first urban wind farm developed on a brownfield site in the United States.