Turning Brownfields into Green Energy Facility

There is much to recommend placing power generating equipment/facilities in closer proximity to end users.  There are many urban industrial sites that are not suitable for residences, businesses or other commercial activities because of previous use.  Why not use these sites for energy facility development and ongoing remediation in concert? 

In southern California, one of our most notorious toxic waste dumps and SuperFund site is Stringfellow Quarry Waste Pits in Riverside County.  The Pits were closed in 1972 after 34 million gallons of acids, solvents, PCBs, pesticides, heavy metals and volatile organics (VOCs) were disposed in pan shaped reservoirs on the 20 acre site.  Could it someday become a solar installation?  Perhaps, according to:  A New Use for Blighted Industrial Sites

Though small sites — capped landfills, abandoned factories, mine tailings piles — make up the majority of the half-million brownfields, larger sites and those that have been given Superfund designation could also be home to solar and wind power installations.  Gail Mosey, with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, has helped conduct assessments of several such locations, including the Stringfellow site in Riverside County in Southern California.

This isn’t a panacea and there are probably not enough of these urban sites to dedicate to energy production that would have a material impact on energy generation.  But it is worth considering using these locations closer to end user populations rather than the easy, cheap, permanent environmental degradation of our local deserts, hill tops, coastlines and farm lands.  We’ve got plenty of severely degraded spaces in relatively close proximity to neighborhoods – why not convert those locations to something useful?  At the very least they could supply their own power for clean-up and remediation!

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