Green on brown

 

Your recent article regarding renewable energy on brownfields is accurate and well-timed (HCN, 6/7/10). This idea makes sense for developers and site owners like mining companies, but the advantages for land conservation deserve to be more fleshed out. Siting large renewable energy projects on disturbed areas eases the pressure to develop pristine public lands such as the California desert and the high plains of Wyoming. These places not only have great scenic values, but provide air and water filtration and precious wildlife habitat. Currently there are a handful of federal efforts under way to promote the use of brownfields for renewables, such as the Cleanfields Act of 2010, which would incentivize utilities to look to these sites. With Secretary Salazar's stated goal of 9,000 megawatts of renewable energy on the public lands permitted by the end of 2011, it is more important than ever that community leaders, conservationists, renewable energy advocates and brownfield redevelopers work together to find ways to reward utilities for choosing these places for renewable energy development.

Alex Daue
Renewable Energy Coordinator
The Wilderness Society,
BLM Action Center
Denver, Colorado