If ever you doubted that we had enough land to build the solar installations and wind farms necessary to power the United States, it’s time to put it to rest right here, right now.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, along with the National Renewable Energy Laboratories, is pushing forward with a program called Re-Powering America’s Land. This groundbreaking project could give 14 million acres of abandoned land a positive role in the attempt to switch the U.S. over to renewable energy.
Considering the alternative (i.e. letting these toxic lands sit unattended), there seems to be little downside to moving forward with the program. Many of the sites sit close to existing communities that would welcome the increase in available jobs, as well as the clean-up of these outlying areas.
So, are all of these lands OK to use? Most likely, yes. Some of the lands are home to abandoned mines, which obviously should be torn down and rebuilt. For the areas that are deemed toxic, the EPA and NREL are looking into building on top of the soil. Solar installations, for instance, don’t require the lying of new foundation to be built. Wind turbines can also be reconfigured with concrete base to house the necessary supporting wires.