Energy Parks are a new twist on the concept of an industrial park that has the potential to create green jobs and improve the economic viability of a community by using lands that are post- industrial sites that may have been super fund sites, brown field sites, or Resource Conservation and Recovery Act sites for the production of energy and to house energy related businesses.
As a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy was given $4 billion for Loan Guarantee Programs for projects such as renewable energy and advanced biofuels. The Department of Energy estimates that this additional funding will result in $32 billion in loan guarantees.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act extends an existing 2 cent per kilowatt -hour ( in 2008 dollars) production tax credit for wind, geothermal and hydroelectric generation and a 1 cent per kilo-watt hour production tax credit for biomass and landfill gas. Grid modernization, advanced vehicles and fuel technologies research, traditional transit, high speed rail, carbon capture and sequestration, green innovation , job training and clean energy equipment manufacturing are all funded through the ARRA for a total of $90 billion with an expected increase in jobs of 719,600 by the fourth quarter of 2012.
How does this impact Charlotte? An Energy Park complex is being planned for the region called the Re Venture Park. According to the recent press release section of Forsite Development , Inc. website, “The ReVenture Park project is transforming a 667-acre Superfund site along the Catawba River in Charlotte into the region’s first Eco-Industrial Park. This dynamic and multi-faceted initiative features multiple clean-energy projects and will advance North Carolina’s environmental and economic goals by attracting a myriad of renewable energy and alternative fuel projects. The Eco-Industrial Park is designed to leverage synergies between multiple sustainable components, including a biomass waste-to-energy power plant, solar fields, incubator labs, wastewater treatment and reuse, and R&D facilities. ReVenture is poised to become a national model for innovative redevelopment of Brownfield industrial properties that are similarly situated.”
The ReVenture Park project is expected to create approximately 1000 jobs in an area that now employs less than 30. The Energy Park concept is being developed throughout the country in various formats. “Careful implementation of the energy park concept provides benefits beyond routine economic development, including:
- New, clean energy and a clean energy industry, including supply chains
- Integrated approach to energy production, distribution, storage and utilization
- Energy production close to major industry users
- Potential R&D for the next generation of energy production
- Environmental sustainability
- Reduced emission of greenhouse gases for new energy
- Liabilities turn into assets
- Models that can be applied to other sites”