For Immediate Release - December 11, 2009

Patrick Administration Plans Second Workshop to Encourage Solar and Wind Power on Closed Landfills

Following sold-out attendance at initial workshop in June, January session will help more municipalities explore issues relating to "recycling" old landfills as renewable energy sites

BOSTON - In an effort to advance the Commonwealth's clean energy goals while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and spurring productive reuse of low-value municipal property, two Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs agencies will hold a second workshop in January for local officials interested in developing solar and wind power projects on former landfill sites.

Sponsored by the Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and the Department of Energy Resources (DOER), with support from the Environmental Business Council of New England, the day-long "Renewable Energy at Closed Landfills" program will take place Tuesday, January 19, at Holyoke Community College's Kittredge Center for Business and Workforce Development. The agencies began registering participants this week.

"We want to provide municipal officials with the tools they need to assess the redevelopment potential of closed landfills, navigate the permitting process and harness state renewable energy incentives," said MassDEP Commissioner Laurie Burt. "We look forward to building on the progress we've made already."

"Generating solar and wind power on former landfills makes sense in many ways, and we expect a full house at this upcoming 'how to' session for municipal officials," said DOER Commissioner Phil Giudice, whose Green Communities Division helps cities and towns realize their renewable power and energy efficiency goals. "Repurposing old landfills in this way provides clean energy, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and creates new revenue streams for cities and towns."

The January workshop follows a similar session held in Mansfield last June and attended by nearly 150 municipal officials, renewable energy project developers, solid waste consultants and utility representatives. Since that time, three Massachusetts towns (Fairhaven, Holbrook and Norton) have moved ahead with plans to "recycle" their closed landfills by using the sites for renewable energy facilities. Several other communities are looking seriously at the idea.

January's workshop will feature panel discussions about the attributes of good renewable energy sites, special considerations for building energy installations on closed landfills, and case studies of two successfully-completed landfill projects in the Northeast:

  • Hull Wind 2, a 1.8-megawatt wind turbine in Hull, Massachusetts; and
  • Pennsauken Renewable Energy Park, a 500-kilowatt solar panel array in Pennsauken, New Jersey.

Workshop registration fees are $35 for representatives of private companies and $15 for municipalities and non-profit organizations. Scholarships are available to offset registration costs for municipal officials and staff. To learn more and to register, click here. For scholarship information, contact DOER Green Communities Division Regional Coordinator Jim Barry at 413-755-2232 or james.barry@state.ma.us.

MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills, and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.

DOER seeks to strengthen the Commonwealth's position as a clean energy leader by enhancing energy efficiency in the state's public and private sectors, maximizing development of renewable energy resources, demonstrating the feasibility of new energy strategies, and spurring job growth through support for clean energy technology companies.