July 14, 2020

Volume X, Number 196

July 13, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

Promoting Renewable Energy Redevelopment of Brownfields - Formerly Contaminated Properties, Landfills and Mine Sites

In 2008, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) launched its Re-Powering America’s Land Initiative with the stated goal of encouraging renewable energy development on current and formerly contaminated properties, landfills and mine sites (brownfields). A centerpiece of the initiative is its informational and promotional aspect: USEPA has combined data regarding brownfields locations with information about regional and site-specific renewable energy potential to create a suite of mapping and screening tools useful to determine whether a renewable energy project is feasible at a particular site.

Additionally, the initiative offers technical support in the form of general feasibility studies, fact sheets and siting best management practices focused on solar, wind, biopower and geothermal energy sources.

In 2010, USEPA issued an initial draft action plan to outline efforts to engage interested parties and to track progress in developing renewable energy resources at brownfields. While there have been some successful projects developing renewable energy resources at brownfield sites throughout the country – such as the Maywood Solar Farm built on a Superfund site in Indianapolis – there is a general consensus that the initiative has not yet realized the full potential for renewable energy resources at brownfields. To further refine its implementation of the Initiative, USEPA has just announced that it is soliciting comments on its Draft Action Plan 2.0; comments are due to USEPA by May 30, 2014.

Left unaddressed by USEPA are the challenges of monetizing brownfield renewable development projects even beyond environmental, permitting and siting issues. Each project will face different market conditions and regulatory commissions in each state. As such, successful renewable energy development on brownfield sites requires significant pre-project planning and interface with regulators.

© 2020 BARNES & THORNBURG LLPNational Law Review, Volume IV, Number 122


About this Author

William Ewing Energy Industry Tax Attorney

Bill Ewing advises and represents clients in a wide range of transactions with a particular focus on the energy industry. With over 25 years of experience, Bill understands the art of the deal and knows what it takes to close important transactions successfully in the most tax-advantageous manner — all while maximizing his client’s opportunity for success.

Co-chair of the firm’s Renewable Energy group, Bill represents clients in the energy industry in a variety of transactions, including partnership investments, sale/leaseback transactions, financings, acquisitions and sales of...

David Gillay Environmental attorney Barnes Thornburg

David R. Gillay is a partner in Barnes & Thornburg's Environmental Department. Before joining the department in 2001, he obtained an advanced environmental engineering degree and practiced as an environmental consultant on various projects across the country.

David's legal practice primarily concentrates on the following subjects: underground storage tank regulation, including Indiana's Excess Liability Trust Fund; Brownfields projects; remediation projects dealing with soil, surface water and groundwater contamination under a wide variety of regulatory programs; assessing and managing the vapor intrusion pathway in real estate transactions and redevelopment activities; cost-recovery claims against owners and operators for contamination, including evaluating other mechanisms to fund investigatory and cleanup activities; environmental due diligence including Phase I Environmental Site Assessments, Phase II subsurface investigations, and evaluating remedial cost estimates; and managing environmental liability in business transactions. His work includes business and compliance counseling, voluntary clean-ups, risk-based decision making under Indiana's Risk-Integrated System of Closure and federal guidance documents, and litigation before state and federal courts and agencies.

David worked as an engineer/project manager with various consulting firms from the mid-1990s to 2001. Most recently, he was project manager for IT Corporation's Engineering and Construction Group and worked in the following areas: remediation of industrial sites with chlorinated solvents and metals contamination; leaking underground storage tank clean-ups; contract and claim management on a multimillion dollar Superfund clean-up project in Monticello, Utah; environmental compliance audits; and due diligence involving phase I and II investigations in property transfers, mergers and acquisitions.

Timothy Haley, Barnes Thornburg Law Firm, Indianapolis, Environmental Law Attorney,

Timothy A. Haley is a partner in the Environmental Department in Barnes & Thornburg LLP’s Indianapolis, Indiana office.

Mr. Haley focuses his practice on regulatory issues arising from environmental laws. These issues include planning and diligence in business and real estate transactions, permitting, administrative rulemaking proceedings, administrative enforcement defense and other administrative or civil litigation. Mr. Haley also advises clients during acquisitions of potentially environmentally impaired properties, and on compliance...