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Old sites could get new life through renewable energy projects

Release Date: 12/09/2008
Contact Information: Dave Bary or Tressa Tillman at 214-665-2200 or r6press@epa.gov

EPA and New Mexico conduct workshop on revamping contaminated properties

(Dallas, Texas – December 9, 2008) Environmental stakeholders from across the country will meet to discuss how to turn contaminated properties into viable sites for renewable energy projects on December 10-11 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is co-sponsoring the workshop, “Brown to Green: Make the Connection to Renewable Energy,” with the New Mexico Environment Department and the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department.

“Whether it's business and government or science and academics, we all have a stake in our environment,” said EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene. “By working together, we can find new and better ways to return problem properties to productive use.”

Workshop organizers plan to use information gained from the event to develop a best practices document with guidelines for locating renewable energy projects on contaminated sites.

The workshop will feature information on EPA’s national renewable energy development initiative, which focuses on using currently or formerly contaminated properties and mining sites for renewable energy projects. EPA manages multiple programs such as Superfund, Brownfields, and Ready for Reuse to clean up and revitalize contaminated properties. These sites are often a good fit for renewable energy projects because they have existing transmission capacity and infrastructure in place, and most of the acreage is in non-urban areas.

Other topics to be discussed during the workshop include New Mexico’s clean energy initiatives, state and federal regulatory considerations, tribal projects, funding sources, case studies, and opportunities for developers, manufacturers, utilities and others.

"We are fortunate to have a Governor and strong leadership in New Mexico who promote our clean energy and climate change policies so they take center stage -- we continue to implement important policies to provide cleaner air and address a warming climate," said New Mexico Environment Department Secretary Ron Curry. "In addition, we have been able to oversee programs and work with forward-thinking companies to convert previously contaminated properties into usable sites."

Renewable energy is obtained from sources that can be replenished continually, such as solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass. Using renewable energy reduces greenhouse gas emissions, decreases dependence on foreign oil, and provides domestic economic development. Demand for renewable energy is estimated to grow by 31 percent over the next 25 years, and renewable energy generation is projected to increase by 45 percent over that same period.

“Governor Richardson’s clean energy policies have led to significant development in New Mexico’s wind resources, with biomass, solar, and geothermal primed to follow. We welcome collaboration with other government agencies and industry to strategically evaluate and re-use brownfields, and green power production should be a primary consideration,” stated Joanna Prukop, Cabinet Secretary of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department.

Additional information on EPA’s national renewable energy development initiative is available at http://www.epa.gov/renewableenergyland/index.htm.

To learn more about activities in EPA Region 6, please visit http://www.epa.gov/region6.

An EPA audio file is available at http://www.epa.gov/region6/6xa/audio.htm#audio120908_workshop.

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