Renewable Energy Development on Former Landfills and Cleanup Sites
This is a resource page for owners and operators of contaminated lands, property owners, prospective renewable energy developers, local governments, and utilities.
U.S. EPA RE-Powering America's Land Initiative
- U.S. EPA's RE-Powering America's Land: U.S. EPA's RE-Powering website contains multiple tools, including decision trees for screening sites for solar photovoltaic and wind potential; interactive mapping tools using Google Earth that include such details as grid connectivity; and opportunities for financial and technical assistance.
- Potential Advantages of Reusing Potentially Contaminated Land for Renewable Energy: A brief introductory document to U.S. EPA's RE-Power land initiative and information for getting started with potential renewable energy developments.
- RE-Powering Benefits Matrix: U.S. EPA tracks the economic and environmental benefits associated with completed renewable energy projects on contaminated lands. The Benefits Matrix publication provides summary information for each completed project and discusses emerging trends.
- RE-Powering Mapper: U.S. EPA pre-screened more than 130,000 sites nationally (and 7,000 in Illinois) for their renewable energy potential in 2018. As part of this effort, EPA collaborated with agencies from Illinois and several other states.
- Best Practices for Siting Solar Photovoltaics (PV) on Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Landfills: A joint publication of U.S. EPA and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to provide assistance in addressing common technical challenges for siting PV on MSW landfills.
U.S. EPA's Office of Solid Waste & Emergency Response Reference Documents
- Green Remediation Best Management Practices: Landfill Cover Systems & Energy Production
- Green Remediation Best Management Practices: Integrating Renewable Energy into Site Cleanup
- Handbook on Siting Renewable Energy Projects While Addressing Environmental Issues
- Solar Power Installations on Closed Landfills: Technical and Regulatory Considerations
State of Illinois Resources
- Illinois EPA Brownfields Initiative: Illinois EPA provides low interest loans to support efforts by local governments and private parties to clean up brownfields sites that have already been assessed for contamination. Contact information for the Illinois EPA Brownfields Initiatives are available on the webpage.
- Illinois EPA Bureau of Land Permit Section: Land permits requirements will depend on the status of the landfill. Permitted landfills would require a BOL permit to install solar panels (or anything else) on top of a landfill. The landfill owner/operator would have to demonstrate that development and operation of the solar panels would not impair any of the landfill's environmental monitoring and control systems. Landfills that have completed post closure and have been issued a certification of completion of post-closure care by Illinois EPA would not require a permit, but care should be taken not to compromise the landfill final cover system.
- Illinois EPA Bureau of Land Databases: Several databases are available online to identify status of contaminated lands and cross references to other federally managed site remediation databases.
- Illinois Power Agency or IPA Brownfield Site PV Procurement: IPA's activities related to the development of new renewable resources to support the Illinois renewable Portfolio Standard are guided by the Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan. The Plan identifies provisions specific to brownfields (p. 108) as well as provisions applicable to all renewable projects (including brownfield and landfill projects).
- Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity: DCEO offers various incentives, loans, and grant opportunities for community development. These opportunities are published on their website as available.
- Illinois Department of Natural Resources Mines and Minerals Section
- Future Energy Jobs Act (2016)
- Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (2021)
Other State Programs & Resources
Other Federal Programs & Resources
- U.S. EPA's Superfund Redevelopment Program & Superfund Redevelopment Mapper
- U.S. EPA’s Landfill Methane Operation Program (LMOP)
- National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL): NREL offers basic tutorials in renewable energy as well performs feasibility studies on specific properties. The link above is specific to solar.
- DSIRE: Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy: DSIRE is a partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy, NREL, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, and the North Carolina Solar Center. The website is administered by NREL. The link above is specific to Illinois.
For more information, please contact Abby Brokaw.