Assessing renewable energy potential on United States marginal and contaminated sites

Briana Niblick, Amy E. Landis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

The United States has 121 million ha of marginal land that could be used to produce renewable energy. Approximately 1.73 million ha of this land includes federally funded brownfields, closed landfills, and abandoned mine lands. This study presents a GIS model to evaluate a range of site-specific energy production potentials on brownfields, closed landfills, and abandoned mine lands. Five energy sources are considered: soybeans, sunflowers, and algae for biodiesel, and solar and wind for electricity. Using soybeans, sunflowers, and algae, the United States could produce 39.9×103 TJ-59.1×103 TJ of renewable fuel per year from biodiesel. Using solar and wind resources, the United States could produce 114-53 TW h per year of electricity. The lower end of the range for each resource represents marginal yields as expected under marginal conditions. The upper end of the range represents prime conditions and is used for comparison to other, more productive types of land and U.S. regional climates. While renewable energy sources sited on individual sites may produce marginal amounts of energy, strategic uses of land and combinations of sources can supplement the national energy matrix. The five renewable energy sources examined in this study could meet up to 39% of the total U.S. 2013 energy demand for biofuel and electricity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)489-497
Number of pages9
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Volume60
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2016

Keywords

  • Contamination
  • Geographic information systems (GIS)
  • Land use
  • Renewable energy
  • Spatial analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment

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