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Friday, January 30, 2009

Brownfields to Renewable Energy

Michigan State University

January 27, 2009 517.432.8800

Heidi Charron
517.432.8800 Ext. 109

East Lansing, MI--Connecting the redevelopment of brownfields in Michigan to renewable energy offers great potential for the state, according to a new case study released by the Land Policy Institute at Michigan State University. The study estimates the renewable energy potential of brownfield sites in Michigan, concluding that an estimated 4,320 megawatts (Mw) of plate capacity could be generated and another 1,535 Mw if photovoltaic solar arrays are placed on the brownfield lands. The combined estimate of 5,855 Mw of plate capacity is equivalent to what it would take to power 1.8 million homes, or almost 50 percent of Michigan homes. Estimated positive economic impacts include the creation of over 17,500 construction, maintenance and operation jobs and more than $15 billion in new investment dollars.

Michigan, which ranks high in its potential to generate renewable energy, adopted a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) last year. The RPS calls for 10 percent of Michigan's energy to come from a combination of efficiency gains in energy use (1 percent) and renewable energy sources (9 percent) by the year 2015.

"The large number of brownfield sites, combined with the state's generous incentives for brownfields redevelopment, create a prime opportunity to expand Michigan's renewable energy capacity," said Dr. Soji Adelaja, John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor in Land Policy and director of the Institute. "Adapting such sites to renewable energy development does not require the costly environmental remediation necessary for other uses."

The report, titled "Potential Application of Renewable Energy on Brownfield Sites: A Case Study of Michigan," is the outcome of a joint project between the Land Policy Institute and the National Center for Neighborhood and Brownfields Redevelopment at Rutgers University in New Jersey. The project was supported by funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation under the People and Land Program and by the Hannah Professor Research Endowment at MSU. It is intended to inform policy in the state about Michigan's wind and solar power potential from brownfields and offers recommendations on guidelines, training, education and technical assistance for economic development officials and brownfield authorities.

Download the report from the Land Policy Institute website. Click on Downloadable Research for publications on Renewable Energy, Green Infrastructure, New Economy, Viable Agriculture and other studies, or learn more about the Institute at

The MSU Land Policy Institute focuses on research and outreach related to land use and strategic growth in the New Economy. The Institute delivers innovative solutions, transitioning knowledge from land use experts to the community. The Institute was founded in 2006.

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