Renewable Energy at Mining SitesOverview
Mining Sites with Renewable Energy Projects
Renewable Energy Feasibility Assessments at Mine Sites
Renewable Energy Resources
EPA has placed national priority on showcasing opportunities for the development of clean and renewable energy projects on contaminated lands. As part of this effort, EPA is working to leverage these opportunities into actual renewable energy projects for communities across the country.
EPA’s Abandoned Mine Lands Team (AMLT) has actively provided communities with technical support and resources to explore innovative reuse opportunities available at former mine lands. EPA works in partnership with EPA Regional offices, local communities and other mine site stakeholders to clarify EPA's interests at former mine lands and to address potential obstacles to innovative reuse of these sites. In addition the AMLT works in close coordination with EPA's RE-Powering America's Lands Initiative. EPA’s RE-Powering America's Lands Initiative identifies Brownfields, RCRA, Superfund and mining sites for their wind, solar and biomass development potential and provides technical resources for communities, developers, industry, local governments or other stakeholders interested in reusing these sites for renewable energy development.
The 2015 Fact Sheet: Renewable Energy on Mine Sites (PDF) (4pp, 1.1 MB) highlights ongoing and planned renewable energy projects at mining sites.
Examples of Site Reuse Activities Involving Alternative Energy
Renewable energy projects are already in place at hardrock and coal mining sites. These energy projects are powering cleanup activities and generating electricity sold to local utilities.
- Molycorp, Inc. (Questa, NM): A 1- MW concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) solar facility sits on 20 acres of mine tailing at the Molycorp, Inc. site.
- Summitville Mine (Rio Grande County, CO): A micro-hydroelectric power plant (32 kW) operates seasonally and supplies electricity to help power on site cleanup activities.
- Dave Johnston Coal Mine (Converse County, WY) (PDF): (2pp, 600K) A 99 MW wind farm is located on a reclaimed coal mine.
- Casselman Wind Power Project (Somerset County, PA) (PDF): (2pp, 500K) A 34.5 MW wind farm that sits partially atop a rehabilitated surface coal mine .
Renewable Energy Feasibility Assessments at Mine sites
Through direct technical and analytic support, the EPA AMLT is working with Regional offices to help site stakeholders evaluate mining sites for their renewable energy development potential. The following reports highlight sites where these activities have taken place with AMLT support:
- Iron King Mine – Humboldt Smelter (PDF) (54pp, 17MB), Dewey-Humboldt, AZ
- ASARCO Mission Mine (PDF) (18pp, 1MB), Sahuarita, AZ
- McKinley Mine, Tse Bonita, NM
In addition, the AMLT has provided support to EPA’s Re-Power Initiative, which has awarded grants for the National Renewable Energy Lab to evaluate the feasibility of developing renewable energy production on Superfund, Brownfields, and former landfill or mining sites.
Additional Renewable Energy Resources
Re-Powering America’s Land: This initiative identifies the renewable energy potential of these sites and provides other useful resources for communities, developers, industry, state and local governments or anyone interested in reusing these sites for renewable energy development.
Green Power and Renewable Energy: This EPA effort provides information on green power and renewable energy.
Shining Light on a Bright Opportunity: Developing Solar Energy on Former Mine Lands (PDF) (27 pp, 3MB): A report on developing solar energy at former mining sites, focusing on solar energy’s potential environmental, economic, and social impacts, case studies and next steps to help get projects in place.
A Breath of Fresh Air for Americas Abandoned Mine Lands: Alternative Energy Provides a Second Wind (PDF) (30 pp, 2MB): A report covering the development of wind energy at former mining sites, including case studies on wind farms that have been developed on former hardrock and coal mines.