Potential Solar Development on Brownfields

Brownfields are sites in which the redevelopment or reuse of the property may be complicated by the presence or perception of contamination. The EPA cites the redevelopment of brownfields into solar generators as one of the most adaptive reuses of such sites, providing multiple benefits. 

Using this mapping tool, local officials, solar developers, utilities and others can locate brownfields and retired industrial sites within the Marquette and Houghton regions, and view the solar potential and related attributes of each site, such as acreage, proximity to transmission and substations, and site ownership. All data is approximated and is not intended to replace a detailed, site-specific assessment for solar development. Data was gathered from public sources, local officials and federal and state agencies. A State of Michigan Energy Office grant made this research project possible.

MEO’s brownfield tool utilizes the mapping engine and layer function of Google Maps to provide easy visualization of U.P. brownfields. The tool is not an exhaustive inventory of potential sites. The map consists of a series of symbols and colored lines generated over the Marquette and Houghton regions. Users can refer to the key (the green schoolhouse in the middle of the map) for guidance of symbol references. The map can also be downloaded into Google Earth, when you click to view the map in full size.

STEER Upper Peninsula Tool

Through funding from the State of Michigan Energy Office, MEO and Five Lakes Energy originally created the STEER-UP tool as an open-access integrated resource planning model for analyzing strategies to implement the Clean Power Plan. The tool automatically calculates the least-cost clean energy plan given policy options, load and price forecasts. This tool uses publicly available data for existing electric generating units in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. All data, inputs and formulae are visible to user and can be modified, designed to meet a balance in ease of use for the use while maintaining a high level of analytical rigor.

STEER-UP employs high resolution data: generator level data, hourly data for renewable resources, and energy efficiency options as represented in energy efficiency potential studies. In addition, the output of the STEER model identifies specific projects in which to invest or renewable resource installation to build, for least cost carbon mitigation.

Results from STEER-UP can help facilitate access to data and inform broad conversations across the Upper Peninsula and beyond about important public policy, energy planning and economic development issues and decisions.

Fluency with Excel is necessary to work with the model, but users with a range of power systems expertise can use it to create and test scenarios. Please note, this is a large Excel file and may take several minutes to download.

Click here to download the STEER-UP tool.

We are still refining the tool and welcome any feedback on its usefulness and functionality. For comments, questions, or a demonstration on how to use the tool, please contact Michael Larson.

View previous project highlights here.
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