EPA and U.S. Department of Energy to Develop Renewable Energy on Previously Contaminated Sites

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory are evaluating the feasibility of developing wind or solar power production on three previously contaminated sites in New York State. EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck recently visited the community near the former Bethlehem Steel plant in Lackawanna, one of two Buffalo area sites that will be evaluated, to announce the New York sites chosen for assessments. The assessments are part of the RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative through which EPA will help revitalize abandoned sites, clean up the environment and lay the groundwork for renewable energy and job creation. The Lackawanna site will be evaluated for either solar or wind power. The EPA and DOE will evaluate sites in 20 states including Lackawanna, South Buffalo and Ulster, N.Y.

“America faces serious environmental and economic challenges caused by our over reliance on fossil fuels,” said Judith A. Enck, EPA Regional Administrator. “Part of the solution is to use previously contaminated land to generate clean energy. This strategy will revitalize communities, cut air pollution and create new jobs.”

EPA and DOE selected 26 sites across the country where wind, solar, biomass, or geothermal energy production may be possible. The EPA and DOE will determine the potential energy generating capacity of the sites, the optimal location for placement of the renewable energy technology on the sites, the return on the investment, and the economic feasibility of the renewable energy projects.

The New York sites to be assessed are:

The ArcelorMittal Tecumseh Redevelopment, Inc. property, Lackawanna, New York

The ArcelorMittal Tecumseh property consists of 1,100 acres located on the shores of Lake Erie in Lackawanna, New York. The site once housed the Bethlehem steel plant. The site is located next door to the nationally known 2.5 mega-watt Steel Winds wind turbine project. EPA and DOE will assess the potential for either wind or solar power production on the site. New energy production could build on the success of the Steel Winds facility and aid the community in addressing the impacts of massive job losses from the de-industrialization of the Great Lakes region.

South Buffalo/Buffalo River industrial area, Buffalo, New York

This 3,500-acre area is within two state-designated brownfield areas, known as South Buffalo and Buffalo River. Historic uses of these sites include steel operations, iron production, grain production, and production of dye and organic chemicals. EPA and DOE will assess the area for wind or solar power production potential. The large areas of vacant land present an opportunity for the construction of numerous renewable energy facilities in the project area. There has already been significant public and private investment and stakeholder interest in renewable energy production in this part of the city.

TechCity, Ulster County, New York

The 256-acre TechCity site is the largest industrial site in the town of Ulster, New York. The site is already being redeveloped, with millions already invested. The EPA and DOE will examine the potential for solar power production on this site. The existing redevelopment plan already leaves 50 acres open for ground-mount solar and calls for rooftop photovoltaic cells on large buildings. Renewable energy manufacturing businesses are currently manufacturing materials for solar power, LED lighting and energy efficient roofing materials at the site. Bringing solar energy production to the site could further bolster the efforts of these green businesses.