Intersecting Minds: Education, Business and Technology at the North Carolina State Jenkins Graduate School of Management

Green Shoots from Brownfields | October 13, 2009

That’s roughly the headline of an exciting new article from The Daily Climate linking green energy and economic growth in the United States. The thrust of the story revolves around the use of “brownfields,” dirty, polluted and abandoned industrial sites for the development of solar and wind farms. According to story, the EPA in conjunction with the National Renewable Energy Lab have identified enough “brownfield” acreage to produce 950,000 MegaWatts of energy. That’s a lot, as in enough energy to power the United States in 2007.

“In the next decade there’s going to be a lot of renewable energy built, and all that has to go somewhere,” said Jessica Goad, an energy and climate change policy fellow for The Wilderness Society. “We don’t want to see these industrial facilities placed on land that’s pristine. We love the idea of brownfields for renewable energy development because it relieves the (development) pressure on undisturbed places.”

Many of these brownfields are in areas that have been hardest hit by the recession, Michigan, Pennsylvania and the Mountain West. These are places that desperately need jobs and economic development if they are going to survive in the 21st century. This could be their opportunity.

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