A retired coal mine in western Maryland is finding new life in the energy sector, as the state’s largest solar farm.
The former mining site in Garrett County is well-situated to become a solar farm thanks to pre-existing interconnection to the grid and and the existence of substations, infrastructure which is crucial to and often a roadblock for new solar projects.
“We should seize every opportunity to give legacy dirty-energy sites new life harnessing renewable energy,” said Johanna Neumann, Senior Director of the Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy at Environment Maryland Research & Policy Center. “Legacy energy sites can offer plug-and-play clean energy opportunities that can avoid interconnection delays and get more renewable energy onto the grid quickly.”
The EPA estimates there are over 450,000 “brownfields” across the US, many of which have clean energy generation potential.
Competitive Power Ventures, the developer of the Garrett County project, estimates that the solar farm will prevent about 133,000 tons of carbon dioxide from entering the air that would have been emitted from dirtier forms of energy generation. The Garret County solar farm is one of 78 new clean energy projects Amazon announced this year as part of a plan to run 100% of their operations with renewable energy by 2025.
The project is expected to be completed in late 2024.
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