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RE-Powering America: Updated Project Tracking Matrix and Map

2013 November 20

 By Marc Thomas

I’ve always loved maps because each map tells a story. In my living room is a framed map from 1860 of where I live: Washington, DC. I often stop and stare at it, and I usually notice something new. I also think about what life must have been like in our nation’s capital during the Civil War.

I love that I get to explore lots of maps as part of my work with the RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative. For example, there’s the RE-Powering Mapper that uses Google Earth to screen sites all over the country for contaminated lands, landfills, and mines that have renewable energy potential. We’ve also developed a series of static maps that illustrate the significant opportunities that exist nationwide for siting solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass projects on these properties.


We just updated our project tracking matrix, which is a list of 85 completed renewable energy projects on contaminated lands. As part of this update, we created a new map of these sites. Projects have been developed in 27 states, from Hawaii to Georgia to Vermont. Examples range from small solar arrays that power cleanup activities onsite, such as the 10 kW project at the Refuse Hideway Landfill in Wisconsin, to huge, utility-scale projects like the 237 MW wind project on the Dave Johnston Mine Reclamation site in Wyoming.

Looking at this new map, I was quickly struck by one yellow dot in western North Carolina, where I’m from. I learned that a 555-kW solar PV project had been built on a former landfill not ten minutes down I-40 from the house where I grew up. This project provides power to the homes of my friends and neighbors and is also a productive use of a closed landfill. Seeing that dot on the map reminded me that these projects offer real benefits to the communities surrounding them: each one has its own story. To learn more about this and other completed projects, see our updated project tracking matrix and map.

About the author:  Marc Thomas has served as a program analyst with EPA for over 8 years. For most of his career, he has identified ways to encourage the cleanup and revitalization of contaminated sites. Since January 2013, he has worked with the RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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4 Responses leave one →
  1. Arman.- permalink
    November 20, 2013

    If Each County Has a Power Self………………!

    No problem from Solar, Wind, Biomass or Geothermal. Oh ya, we still need interconnection but just for maintenance of the power system. If ready next, we shouldn’t scare on the disasters or anything………..!!!

  2. Joan Ebzesry permalink
    November 20, 2013

    this is a really terrific blog and a great project. makes me proud to work at EPA

  3. Nadine Watson permalink
    November 21, 2013

    Good Morning Mr. Thomas, Your blog and map has inspired me to write to you on a topic that has made me upset and angry for a number of years. I see that the map you presented does not have one dot in Maine where we live. We have lived in our house for more than thirty years on Grammar Rd in Sanford Maine. We get our water supply from a city gravel packed well on New Dam Rd about four miles from our house. Many years ago this town gave permission to a company (now defunct) to reclaim copper from printed circuit board on a site next to our water supply. It is now a dump site contaminated with copper ( the soil is orange} and piles of printed circuit board mounded up higher than the building. In fact if you go to google maps and find the site you will see it clearly within 1000 ft of our water supply. I have taken water samples from our water main before it even comes into the house. It failed as it had 10 times the legal limit for copper I have fought the good fight with local and state officials. Nothing gets done. Six years ago I got kidney cancer. Someone else will have to take on this cause now. My hope is that you will investigate and at the very least the EPA should require this state to divert out water supply to another gravel packed well. I was told by the Epa that copper not being biodegradable, could not be moved elsewhere.

  4. November 24, 2013

    This is an amazing post , useful info ,thanks

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