The Green Energy button refers to the Re-powering tool of the US EPA (see description below).
What is the EPA Re-powering tool?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency has done a lot of research on the siting of renewable energy on potentially contaminated lands, landfills and mine sites: the RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative. Within this initiative, the EPA identified the potential of such sites in terms of renewable energy production, thereby providing useful resources for communities, developers, industry and local or regional governments. One of these resources is the RE-Powering’s Electronic Decision Tree. This tool enables the user to screen a site on its suitability for solar photovoltaics or wind energy installations. Throughout the screening, the tool will also detect potential barriers that could complicate the production of renewable energy. The Electronic Decision Tree was built on the lessons that were learnt from real life renewable energy projects on contaminated sites as well as on the best practices.
The main goal of the tool is to create confidence regarding the site’s suitability for renewable energy in case of positive findings. Furthermore, it aims at generating interest and commitment from the involved stakeholders in the subject. Hence, the screening is seen as a critical step in the preliminary stage of a longer process that should result in a successful renewable energy installation. Thereafter, a more detailed and site-specific assessment should be undertaken.
How to use the EPA Re-powering tool?
The tool provides the user with a step-by-step walk through of key considerations for renewable energy development at the site. During the process, the tool will suggest different resources to help the user to answer the screening questions that are asked in order to estimate the site’s potential for renewable energy. Finally, the user will receive a summarising report with all the user’s answers and initial findings regarding suitability and other comments about the site under consideration. Download instructions can be found here and more information is given on this factsheet.
Why is the EPA Re-powering tool included in the Orion tool?
The production of renewable energy on contaminated sites can have many environmental and social benefits. Of course, renewable energy provides a pollution-free source of energy, but through reuse of these contaminated sites, properties that have been underutilized for many years can turn into a facility that may improve the local tax base, create jobs and other economic opportunities. Hence, this approach does not only result in the reuse of the land, but creates an asset from a liability that will serve the community within the next decades after installing the energy production. As an interim use, the production of renewable energy can be very interesting while awaiting landfill mining to become feasible in the upcoming decades.