For Immediate Release - June 12, 2009

Patrick Administration Workshop Explores Renewable Energy Development at Closed Landfill Sites

Departments of Energy Resources and Environmental Protection Offer "how to" session for municipal officials

BOSTON - Nearly 40 municipal officials are expected to gather in Mansfield on Wednesday, June 17, for an all-day workshop exploring issues relating to developing wind and solar power on their capped landfills.

Envisioned as a "how to" session for siting renewable energy at these unique and often under-utilized locations, the sold-out workshop is co-sponsored by the Departments of Energy Resources (DOER) and Environmental Protection (MassDEP), with support from the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust and the Environmental Business Council of New England. Other sponsors are Weston & Sampson and Wheatstone Engineering & Consulting, Inc. The workshop takes place from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn, 31 Hampshire Street in Mansfield.

"MassDEP has long supported getting environmentally challenged properties back into productive use, and closed landfills hosting renewable energy sources represent just such an opportunity," MassDEP Commissioner Laurie Burt said. "This workshop will provide city and town officials with the tools they need to assess the redevelopment potential of their closed landfill sites, learn about environmental permitting, and get access to the Commonwealth's renewable energy incentive programs."

"Generating solar and wind power at capped landfills can help the Commonwealth meet Governor Patrick's ambitious renewable energy goals, as well as greenhouse gas emission reduction targets mandated by the new Global Warming Solutions Act," DOER Commissioner Philip Giudice said.

Commissioner Giudice also noted that capped landfills present opportunities for communities interested in adopting 'as-of-right' siting bylaws for renewable or alternative energy in designated locations, a prerequisite before cities and towns can be designated "Green Communities" and qualify for renewable energy and energy efficiency grants under the Green Communities Act of 2008.

In addition to municipal officials, solid waste consultants and renewable energy project developers are expected to attend the workshop, which will address issues such as siting considerations, potential impacts on landfill caps, and economic incentives available to minimize renewable energy installation costs. Officials from both DOER and MassDEP are scheduled to speak, and the program will feature two case studies of renewable energy installations on closed landfills: the 1.8 megawatt Hull 2 wind turbine in Hull, Massachusetts and a 500-kilowatt solar array at the Pennsauken Landfill Renewable Energy Park in New Jersey.

Other scheduled speakers include officials of the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust, National Grid, and the UMass Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Members of the media interested in covering the workshop should contact Jennifer Viveiros at MassDEP-Southeast Region at 508-946-2739.