By facilitating the redevelopment of mines, landfills and other contaminated sites with solar, wind and geothermal energy, federal and state agencies and Congress can increase renewable energy development while reducing pressure on undeveloped “greenfield” sites.
For example, a solar project constructed on mine tailings at the Chevron Questa Mine Superfund site is now powering 150 homes. The project provided local jobs in Questa, New Mexico, and Chevron Mining also partnered with stakeholders to restore Eagle Rock Lake, a recreation area valued by the community.
The Wilderness Society is currently helping develop federal legislative proposals to facilitate repowering mines and brownfield sites with renewable energy. We are also working in partnership with The Nature Conservancy and Rocky Mountain Institute to advance opportunities in Nevada under an initiative called Mining the Sun.
While solar, wind and geothermal development on public lands has increased in recent years, there is great potential for additional responsible development. Building on this progress will require the continued funding and implementation of the DOI renewable energy programs; cooperation between government, Native American tribes, industry, conservation groups, and other stakeholders; and bipartisan congressional support to ensure legislation and policies remain up-to-date. Working together, we can help guarantee continued success for the development of the nation’s renewable energy resources and protection of our natural and cultural heritage well into the next generation.