Proposed Legislation Could Turn Brownfields to Cleanfields With Renewable Energy Development

May 6, 2010

WASHINGTON D.C.--More than 4,000 brownfield sites across the US could become first-class locations for renewable energy development with the introduction of the Cleanfields Act of 2010, by U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics and Environmental Health. Sen. Lautenberg was joined by New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown to introduce the bill that would reward utilities and renewable energy developers for selecting brownfield sites for their projects. 
 
The Wilderness Society has been promoting siting renewable energy on already degraded lands as a way to spur economic growth and to ease pressure on sensitive areas from transmission lines and new large renewable energy facilities. 
 
The following statement can be attributed to David Moulton, Director of Climate Policy and Conservation Funding:
 
“At a time when we are losing open space at the rate of 6,000 acres a day, it makes perfect sense to look towards recycling already-disturbed land before we tear up our precious remaining open spaces, forests and grasslands. Our country has thousands of brownfields that have good renewable energy potential, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Environmental Protection Agency.  These places often come with existing transmission lines and substations because of their industrial past. The Wilderness Society has been advocating for renewable energy projects to be ‘smart from the start.’ That means it is essential to make good decisions about where to locate these new clean energy facilities, and renewable energy on brownfields allows us to protect our special places while repowering our country.” 
 
The Cleanfields Act is designed to provide a new incentive to steer private money to clean up these sites with renewable energy by way of the Renewable Electricity Standard (RES). The Wilderness Society supports a strong RES that would require utilities to produce 25% renewable energy by 2025. Under an RES, utilities receive “renewable energy credits” for generating renewable energy. The Cleanfields Act allows utilities to receive triple the amount of renewable energy credits for generating renewable energy on a brownfield site. This helps utilities meet their RES requirements, but also guides those renewable energy projects to places that are already disturbed.
 
You can read more on The Wilderness Society’s take on the Cleanfields Act at: http://wilderness.org/content/renewing-lands-renewables