EPA Uses Google Earth-based Interactive Database to Spot Energy Opportunities

The Environmental Protection Agency has released an interactive Google Earth-based database which pinpoints energy development opportunities on contaminated properties.

According to Biofuels Digest, the EPA’s site shows opportunities for solar, wind and biomass benefits, by combining Google Earth visuals with the database list of places that show promise for progress.

The “Renewable Energy on Contaminated Land and Mining Sites” Web page gives interested parties tools to see what’s possible and where. For example, someone interested in building a community wind farm might want to view the “EPA Tracked Sites with Community Wind Energy Generation Potential” map.

The U. S. map briefly explains the associated criteria — e.g. size (100-1,999 acres) and distance to graded roads (25 miles or less) — and shows seven power classes based on amount of wind at any given point. The map is color coded based on those classifications for resource potential.

Why Develop Contaminated Lands?

The EPA provides a fairly bulky list, explaining its opinion on why this idea to develop contaminated lands is worthwhile. Here is one of their points:

“There are approximately 480,000 sites and almost 15 million acres of potentially contaminated properties across the United States that are tracked by EPA. Cleanup goals have been achieved and controls put in place to ensure long-term protection for more than 850,000 acres. This leaves open many potential opportunities to develop renewable energy facilities on these sites, and coordination and partnerships among federal, state tribal and other government agencies, utilities, the private sector and communities, will only help advance renewable energy production.”

Advantages of the EPA’s Google Earth Tool

The EPA describes and bullet-points several advantages it feels users can gain from this new, Web-based tool:

“This tool makes it possible to view EPA’s information about siting renewable energy on contaminated land and mining sites alongside other information contained in Google Earth. Furthermore, detailed information about each site is available in addition to the site’s location. By clicking on a dot associated with a site, you can view:

  • The site name
  • The acreage
  • The EPA program and Region managing the site
  • The EPA site ID number
  • The site status
  • Detailed descriptions of renewable energy potential at that site

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