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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have launched new tools designed to test underutilized sites and contaminated land for solar and wind energy potential.

The "decision trees" give local communities and landowners ways to evaluate sites for renewable energy potential without the need for technical expertise, the agencies explain. The EPA estimates that nationwide there are approximately 490,000 sites and almost 15 million acres of potentially contaminated properties.

The tools can be used to evaluate individual or multiple sites, such as brownfields, Superfund and other hazardous waste sites, abandoned parcels, landfills, parking lots, and commercial or industrial roofs, depending on the technology.

The tools and a podcast by the assistant administrator for the EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response on the solar and wind decision trees are now available here.

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