DEEP: Siting Clean Energy on Brownfields

Siting Clean Energy on Connecticut Brownfields
 
{Photo of Hartford Landfill methane collection and solar panels} {Photo of Plainfield Renewable Energy biomass power plant on former Gallup}
 
Renewable energy, such as wind and solar, can be sited on land that has been or is perceived to be polluted and is now underused.  These properties, called brownfields, may be particularly attractive because these types of renewable energy installations may require large sites, and brownfields are usually large sites located in areas with the existing infrastructure needed to support development.  Additionally, tax incentives and financing may be available to increase the attractiveness of siting renewable energy on brownfields in Connecticut.  Below you will find links to information on financing and incentives, guidance, potential locations, and liability limitations for both clean energy projects and brownfield reuse.
 
Municipalities Seeking Renewable Energy Developers for Landfill Sites
 
The following municipalities (or private parties) control closed landfill sites and are seeking to develop renewable energy on these properties.  This list is updated periodically.
Please contact DEEP Brownfields Coordinator Mark Lewis at Mark.Lewis@ct.gov if you would like to be added to this list.
 
Financing and Incentives
 
State and Federal Government Funding may be available for clean and energy efficiency projects developed on contaminated sites. Funding (grants and loans) and in some cases, local tax incentives are available for site assessment, cleanup, and redevelopment or reuse projects with clean energy and energy efficiency components.
 
 
State Renewable Energy Incentives
 
The State of Connecticut offers a wide array of renewable energy programs and incentives:
 
Combined Heat and Power (CHP), also known as cogeneration, is an efficient, clean and reliable way to generate electricity and heat from a single fuel source, such as commercially available gas turbines, microturbines, reciprocating engines, steam turbines and fuel cells.  Brownfield sites can be ideal sites for CHP installations because of their size.  Commercial, industrial, and institutional customers in Eversource or UI service territories are eligible to participate in this program.  Connecticut’s Green Bank may offer proposals for grants, loans, loan enhancements or power purchase incentives to help finance the cost of CHP equipment.  For application details and project eligibility requirements, please contact the Connecticut Green Bank or visit EnergizeCT.
 
Connecticut Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) is an innovative program that helps commercial, industrial and multi-family property owners access affordable, long-term financing for smart energy upgrades to their buildings.  Building owners may finance qualifying energy efficiency and clean energy improvements through placing a voluntary assessment on their property tax bill, which are paid back over time.  Repayment obligations transfer automatically to subsequent owners if the property is sold.  Building owners can qualify for 100% upfront, fixed-rate, long-term financing for up to 20 years under the C-PACE program.  These financing incentives can be particularly attractive to building owners who are interested in financing mechanisms for siting renewable energy on buildings within brownfields, thereby providing positive environmental, societal, and economic benefits in brownfield redevelopment.  Municipalities are also eligible for C-PACE financing for Microgrid development.  The C-PACE Program Guidelines, the governing document for all C-PACE program participants, contains full eligibility requirements and project guidelines.
 
Low and Zero Emissions Renewable Energy Credits (LREC/ZREC)  Renewable generation can now be developed through Class I renewable energy credits (RECs) under 15-year contracts with owners or developers of renewable energy projects in Connecticut.  Siting renewable energy, such as wind and solar, on brownfields may be particularly attractive.  For example, wind power siting may require a larger sized site and solar power is ideally sited in a large flat location that allows panels to be angled to capture the most sunlight, which are solutions and benefits that brownfields may provide. LREC/ZREC requires Eversource  and The United Illuminating Company to procure RECs (as defined in CGS 16-1(a)(26) and CGS 16-245a(b)) under 15-year contracts with owners or developers of renewable energy projects pursuant to CGS 16-244(r), 16-244(s) and 16-244(t).  The LREC/ZREC program will run for an ten year period, ending in 2021, during which developers can sell electricity from qualifying projects of Class I RECs to the utilities at a fixed price for a period of 15 years.  At the end of the program the utilities are required to purchase $1.02 billion of RECs directly from customers, site owners and/or developers of clean energy projects. Of that amount, $300 million is to be spent on LRECs, and $720 million is to be spent on ZRECs.  For more information on the LREC/ZREC Program, and to download and view program documents, please visit either Eversource's or UI's webpages.
 
State Incentives for Brownfield Remediation and Development
 
Targeted Brownfield Development Loan Program offers low/flexible/deferred interest 20-year loans for environmental assessments, remediation, and other eligible costs for brownfield redevelopment.  Potential brownfield purchasers and current owners (including municipalities) may qualify for loans (up to $2 million).  Loans are awarded four times per year, but additional rounds may be made available at the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) Commissioner’s discretion.  If additional rounds of funding are approved, the updated funding schedule will be listed on that page.
 
For more detailed information, please submit your inquiries to brownfields@ct.gov.
 
Federal Incentives for Brownfield Remediation and Development
 
U.S. EPA offers many incentives to eligible brownfield applicants, including grants and loans. (Availability of federal funding may vary by year.)  
  • Area-wide Planning Pilot Program
  • Brownfields Assessment Grants 
  • State-Wide Revolving Loan Fund 
  • Brownfield Cleanup Grants
  • Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grants
  • Multi-Purpose Pilot Grants
  • Training, Research, and Technical Assistance Grants
  • Targeted Brownfields Assessments
State Resources: Requirements and Technical Assistance
 
Connecticut Toolbox for Brownfield Remediation and Reuse  DEEP has developed several guidance documents to assist in evaluating Brownfields sites for redevelopment:
State Brownfields and Voluntary Remediation Programs provide environmental, financial, and technical assistance and incentives that promote brownfield cleanup and redevelopment.
 
Connecticut Closed Landfills
The list and map include information about landfills that could potentially be used for clean energy development.  (They are not intended to be exhaustive or an acknowledgement of ideal properties for renewable energy development.)
Please contact DEEP Brownfields Coordinator Mark Lewis at mark.lewis@ct.gov if you have questions about these documents or believe other sites should be included.
 
Federal Resources
 
Brownfield Road Map
The Brownfields Road Map is designed to help non-technical stakeholders understand options for site investigation and cleanup and communicate effectively with technical professionals.
 
Revitalizing Contaminated Sites: Addressing Federal Liability Questions
This U.S. EPA handbook is a compilation of enforcement tools, guidance, and policy documents that are available to help promote the cleanup and revitalization of contaminated sites.
 
U.S. EPA Re-Powering America’s Land
provides information on how contaminated lands, landfills, and mine sites can be reused as renewable energy installations and supplies best practices, tools and resources for screening properties for renewable energy potential.
 
 
EPA's RE-Powering America’s Land Electronic Decision Tree tool helps communities, local governments, site owners and other stakeholders explore the feasibility of solar or wind energy on formerly contaminated properties and underutilized sites.
 
Additional Information:
EPA Targeted Brownfields Assessment (TBA) Program assists municipalities and non-profits to minimize uncertainties of a contaminated site.
 
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) conducts numerous analyses for using Renewable Energy on contaminated lands.
 
Renewable Energy Potential for Brownfield Redevelopment Strategies provides information on renewable energy and processes to identify renewable energy technologies for Brownfields.
 
 
 
 
Content last updated June 18, 2019.