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Renewable energy potential on brownfield sites: A case study of Michigan

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Federal priorities are increasingly favoring the replacement of conventional sources of energy with renewable energy. With the potential for a federal Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) legislation, many states are seeking to intensify their renewable energy generation. The demand for wind, solar, geothermal and bio-fuels-based energy is likely to be rapidly expressed on the landscape. However, local zoning and NIMBYism constraints slow down the placement of renewable energy projects. One area where land constraints may be lower is brownfields; whose development is currently constrained by diminished housing, commercial, and industrial property demand. Brownfield sites have the potential for rapid renewable energy deployment if state and national interests in this area materialize. This study investigates the application of renewable energy production on brownfield sites using Michigan as a case study. Wind and solar resource maps of Michigan were overlaid with the brownfield locations based on estimates of brownfield land capacity. The total estimated energy potential available on Michigan’s brownfield sites is 4320 megawatts (MW) of plate capacity for wind and 1535for solar, equating to 43% of Michigan’s residential electricity consumption (using 30% capacity factor). Estimated economic impacts include over $15 billion in investments and 17,500 in construction and long-term jobs.
... It may also be vacant, derelict, or contaminated' [97]. Brownfield lands are often considered eyesores or even potential health hazards [98]. The difficulty of redeveloping these sites, coupled with the increased requirement for renewable sources of energy have resulted in them being considered for renewable energy provision [98]. ...
... Brownfield lands are often considered eyesores or even potential health hazards [98]. The difficulty of redeveloping these sites, coupled with the increased requirement for renewable sources of energy have resulted in them being considered for renewable energy provision [98]. In terms of biomass production, brownfield land has been investigated as a potentially useable land resource in the North East of England with a scoping study of available non-agricultural land types [99,100]. ...
... Brownfield land has also been assessed in terms of the role it could play in providing other renewable energies. Adelaja et al. [98] investigated the wind and solar potential on brownfield sites in Michigan, concluding that utilisation of this resource could provide 43% of Michigan's residential electricity consumption. Similarly, the potential for brownfield redevelopment for solar energy purposes has also been investigated in the Czech Republic [102]. ...
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Concerns regarding global food security, direct or indirect land use change from bioenergy production require a better understanding of the alternative landbanks that may exist. The potential of ‘marginal’ land, whether for food or fuel production, has been the subject of much previous research but is currently compromised by the lack of a clear, globally accepted definition. A critical omission in the plethora of existing explicit or implicit definitions in use is the lack of comprehensive or consistent inclusion of non-agricultural land types, here re-defined as those now rendered unsuitable, unacceptable or permanently unavailable for food purposes. The result is variable inclusion of such land types in different areal studies, uncertainty regarding the nature of any land identified as ‘marginal’, in turn leading to inconsistent estimates of the role they could play in the provision of sustainable bioenergy. The purpose of this research is to review the full range of possible ‘marginal’ land resources, especially those which are non-agricultural so avoid food competition, from previously-developed brownfield land, to former landfills or old mineral workings. Literature examples are compared to determine which land types have actually been included and quantified. In these case studies, non-agricultural types may equal other marginal lands at country or provincial scale, becoming dominant in urban regions. An inclusive definition is proposed, together with a graphic classification scheme, to guide future studies and enable quantification of truly non-agricultural marginal land as a potential contribution to sustainable bioenergy provision as part of the net zero, circular economy.
... 66 In recent decades, the phenomenon of abandoned industrial buildings has taken on 67 significant dimensions in Italy and around the world, with social, urban, and inevitably 68 economic ramifications. Meanwhile, the cultural debate has drawn increased attention to 69 the issue and raised awareness of the strategic role that decommissioned industrial areas 70 can play in meeting society's new needs [10,11]. In light of the growing need for a sustain-71 able urban environment, it is worthwhile to investigate the issue of adaptive reuse of 72 abandoned industrial buildings, which can play a strategic role in the urban transfor-73 mation process. ...
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When industrial relics, such as obsolete buildings, sites, and infrastructures, enter into a process of adaptive reuse, they become transformation engines capable of shaping urban fabric. They provide tangible and intangible links to our past and have the potential to play a significant role in today's cities' future. One unresolved issue is the quantification of the externalities of these transformation processes. If done correctly, adaptive reuse can contribute to the development of social and cultural capital, environmental sustainability, urban regeneration, and, most importantly, economic benefits to the surrounding community. In this sense, understanding the value of heritage is particularly important in light of the new European urban environmental policy movement based on the circular economy, which aims to change the way Member States consume and produce materials and energy. After a review of externalities generated by the adaptive reuse of disused industrial heritage, the paper will concentrate on the estimation of economic benefits given by a transformation process that affected Turin's Aurora district (Northern Italy) during the last years. The hedonic pricing method (HPM) was used to investigate the effects of the construction of new headquarters and the redevelopment of an old power plant converted into a museum and conference center. This study used econometric models to identify a significant increase in market prices within 800 meters of the site and calculated a 16,650,445.22€ capitalized benefit from the transformation. The study thus contributed to the awareness that reused heritage not only improves the lives of residents, but it also has a positive impact on the real estate market, in terms of transactions, as well as market values.
... Finally, the barriers to the three types of FDI (i.e., greenfield, brownfield and M&A), have not been well researched in the literature. A growing number of studies have indicated that investors prefer brownfield investment due to government incentives (e.g., brownfield tax credits and redevelopment grants), ease of acquiring sites, lower capital costs and risks compared to investing in greenfield sites [16,94,[111][112][113][114][115][116][117][118][119]. Future studies could investigate the challenges with mobilising capital towards greenfield, brownfield, and M&A. ...
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To achieve climate goals, unprecedented amounts of new clean energy capacity need to be deployed at a rapid rate. Project finance is crucial to achieve clean energy (CE) capacity targets in order to rapidly decarbonise economies. However, current project finance commitments are far from sufficient, particularly in greenfield settings. To accelerate decarbonisation efforts therefore, it is essential to understand the barriers to CE financing in greenfield settings in order to guide public policy and to direct future research in the greenfield and cross-border investment literature. To date, few studies have focused on mobilising private capital to develop and build greenfield investments. This paper reviews recent literature to identify the barriers to CE investment focusing on greenfield renewable generation projects using a systematic quantitative review. A total of 45 studies published between 2010 and 2022 were included in the review. The results identified 36 barriers grouped into 7 categories: business/market; construction, technical and operational; environmental; financial; legal and ownership rights; policy and regulatory; and political and social barriers. Over the study period, environmental barriers declined the most, while construction, technical and operational, and political and social barrier categories increased significantly. Financial barriers were consistent throughout the years. Although these barriers are likely due to ineffective policy and immature CE investment in host countries, they provide insights for governments to boost greenfield investments and to develop local industry capacity and expertise. This paper also provides directions for future research and concludes with policy recommendations to address the barriers.
... RE production, even if temporary, is, therefore, one of the most desirable ways to reuse such sites [17,18]. Unused and derelict agricultural sites have clear potential for rapid RE development [19] providing an important opportunity to solve two challenging environmental problems: (i) the introduction of RE production in rural areas, (ii) and to support remediation of derelict and/or contaminated rural sites [20]. Brownfield sites that have been successfully regenerated for RE production in this way have been referred to as "brightfields" [21]. ...
Article
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We aim to contribute to in-depth comprehension of the factors and preferences behind the reuses of large-scale underused or abandoned former collective farms from the 1950s–1980s for biogas plants and solar photovoltaic power plants. As a case study, three regions in the southern part of the Czech Republic have been selected. Our findings signal that the residents’ attitudes towards the mentioned energy sources are rather negative. Similarly, farmers’ interest in photovoltaic power plants is low. More interest has been detected in the case of biogas production; this is especially true for large agricultural companies and farmers, who own underused or abandoned premises. Biogas plants are frequently located in agricultural areas with warmer or just slightly colder climates as a consequence of the potential to process locally grown maize. On the other hand, photovoltaic power plants are found on more fertile plains with high levels of insolation, but, surprisingly, also in mountain regions which typically have low emissions. Both renewable energy solutions were found to be problematic as there is strong opposition to both types of installations among local inhabitants. This indicates the need for “soft” forms of planning. Stakeholder engagement and inclusive participation in all phases of the planning process are essential requirements for arriving at the best possible outcomes for the new renewable energy solutions and their acceptance by the public.
... Given their large land requirements, questions about the sustainability of solar energy developments have emerged in terms of their compatibility with other land uses such as agriculture (Moore-O'Leary et al., 2017;Hernandez et al., 2019). Ground-based solar energy developments are increasing in agricultural landscapes, due in large part to the siting of utility-scale solar energy developments on former agricultural fields (Adelaja et al., 2010;Adeh et al., 2019). Croplands are generally flat, open, and relatively undeveloped, making them ideal locations for solar energy development (Adeh et al., 2019). ...
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... The study revealed that while not producing significant benefits in terms of impacts on jobs, a significant reduction in carbon emissions was expected. Different energy sectors were investigated through the IO tables; wind (Adelaja et al., 2010;Algoso and Rusch, 2004;Lantz, 2008), biomass (Madlener and Koller, 2007;Perez-Verdin et al., 2008), biofuel (Neuwahl et al., 2008), and solar PV systems (Barrett et al., 2002). As for the studies developed in Europe, Caldés et al. (2009) estimated the direct and indirect socio-economic impacts of growing the capacity of the PV system in Spain using IO analysis. ...
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... Recent adoptions in Senegal, Syria and Nigeria are noteworthy [5]. Adopted policies range from legal mandates, tax and other incentives, industry support (both intellectual and financial) and educational programs [9]. Such policies are game changers in the sense that they have been shown to positively impact on RE adoption [10][11][12][13][14][15][16]. ...
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Current trends in renewable energy. A speech given to the International Renewables Energy Conference
  • T Hayward
Hayward, T., 2008. Current trends in renewable energy. A speech given to the International Renewables Energy Conference, Conference Center, Washington, DC, March 4, 2008.