Renewable energy parks are a new concept, but are at the forefront of discussions lately. A renewable energy park is "an area used and planned for the purpose of clean energy development, like wind and solar generation."
This revolving concept provides a source of reliable, locally-produced clean energy, contributes to eco-tourism, and is an educational resource to local schools, universities, and business groups. Energy generation sources can include solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and hydrogen generation to incorporate an assortment of technologies and purposes.
There are grant opportunities and utility incentives for communities looking to develop a renewable energy park. The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) is a great example of federally-funded programs that provide assistance in energy park development.
A recent Department of Energy webinar showcased the Town of Hempstead, New York and its renewable energy park in Point Lookout, NY. The energy park features several innovative demonstration projects, various solar photovoltaic technologies, electric charging stations, and an off-grid aquaculture facility.
The town received $4.5 millin from the EECBG to implement projects including lighting and HVAC retrofits, vehicle fleet improvements, metering data acquisition system, and public outreach efforts.
The town has lowered its carbon footprint, and brought major energy savings to the town's facilities. Their clean energy initiative and energy park is a great blueprint for other communities developing renewable energy parks, or implementing locally-produced clean energy.
Source: Energy Manager Today