Michigan predicts brownfield jobs boom

Using Michigan's brownfield sites to house renewable energy schemes would skip the need for the extensive remediation required for housing or commercial property and could power up to half the state's homes.

If the state’s vacant brownfield sites were used for renewable energy, an estimated 5,855Mw could be generated – enough to power 1.8 million homes.

This is according to a case study published by the Land Policy Unit of Michigan State University that also says that such a move could create up to 17,500 construction, maintenance and operation jobs and attract over $15 billion investment.

The report outlines how many of the sites could be used to house both wind turbines and solar arrays.

“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, director of the institute.

“Adapting such sites to renewable energy development does not require the costly environmental remediation necessary for other uses.”

Last year Michigan committed to a Renewable Portfolio Standard that requires it to source 10% of its energy from renewable sources by 2015.

Michigan, home to Detroit, heart of the US motor industry, has no shortage of disused industrial sites.

The state has around 44,000 acres of brownfield sites ready for development.

The report also calls for a re-write of state regulations to fast track applications for renewable energy projects on these sites to put Michigan at the forefront of the industry in the US.

Sam Bond

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