Growing demand for clean energy raises questions about where to build distributed energy resources (DER), supply and demand side resources that can be used throughout an electric distribution system to meet customers’ energy and reliability needs.
Brownfields hold enormous potential to help meet clean-energy goals. Properties originally developed for industrial use, brownfields are a preferable option over farmland or undeveloped lands that are important for the agricultural economy and food production.
Closed landfills are one example of a brownfield. In Minnesota, Barr helped the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) gain a better understanding of the potential for solar power development on the 110 sites in the EQB’s closed-landfill program. Our technical assessment ranked the sites, identified barriers to development, and recommended ways to address them.
“There is often pushback to using good agricultural land for solar energy projects. Brownfield sites often carry some form of impairment that limits typical redevelopment options but may not limit the site for energy production,” said Andy Polzin, a senior environmental consultant who helps Barr’s clients evaluate potential solar energy sites.
But even when a brownfield is deemed a suitable DER site, development can encounter hurdles, such as environmental remediation requirements, wetland and ecological regulations, and geotechnical considerations, in addition to challenges related to special equipment and construction techniques. Barr has managed numerous complex brownfield redevelopment projects, helping clients navigate the regulatory and construction processes hand in hand.
To learn more about how to unlock a brownfield’s clean-energy potential, contact us.
About the author
Todd Fasking has nearly three decades of experience with multimedia compliance and permitting projects. His recent work includes overseeing large, complex environmental review, permitting, and environmental management projects for several of Barr’s mining and fuels clients. Some of the more challenging aspects he has worked to overcome in these recent projects have been the changing permitting landscape, including changes to GHG BACT, NAAQS, and modeling requirements.