The State of Hawaii has launched a new online mapping tool as part of its Hawaii Brightfields Initiative that will make it easier for land owners, developers, community members, and policymakers to assess the renewable energy potential of contaminated sites and other previously developed parcels statewide in support of Hawaii’s clean energy future.
The new tool may be found at the Hawaii State Energy Office’s (HSEO) Developer & Investor Center at: energy.hawaii.gov/developer-investor
The tool was developed by HSEO and the Hawaii Department of Health’s Office of Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response (HEER), with support from the Hawaii Statewide Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Program in the Hawaii Office of Planning, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
The Hawaii Brightfields Initiative supports HSEO’s mission to facilitate the efficient siting of renewable energy projects by informing preliminary site due diligence and reducing the soft costs associated with renewable energy development decisions. The tool encourages the reuse of previously developed, disturbed or contaminated lands, which can be more development-ready and helps to preserve untouched lands in Hawaii. The Hawaii Brightfields Initiative also supports HEER’s mission to protect human health and the environment by enabling the effective management and redevelopment of sites with known soil contamination.
“Assessing the potential to site renewable energy projects on contaminated sites is particularly relevant in Hawaii where it is imperative that we make the best use of our limited land,” said Scott Glenn, chief energy officer for the State of Hawaii. “We look forward to continuing to work with our partners and others in making information and data useful and accessible to the public,” he said.
The Brightfields tool is designed to be user-friendly without the need for special skills, software or experience. Users can find sites by viewing the map or research specific sites through a filtering feature.
“We are fortunate to work with our partners at the State Energy Office, the National Renewable Energy Office, and US EPA to market potentially contaminated sites, including brownfields and landfills that may be ideal for renewable energy projects,” said Keith Kawaoka, DOH Deputy Director of Environmental Health. “Encouraging redevelopment of these properties helps preserve currently undeveloped land for other important uses, like agriculture or conservation. Competitive grants to assess and clean up brownfields for sustainable re-use are available from US EPA’s Brownfields Program.”
The Hawaii Brightfields Initiative database was originally developed by NREL with assistance from the US EPA. Significant technical contributions were provided by Symbinomics and the GIS Program, which will publish and maintain the tool on the State’s Geospatial Data Portal (geoportal.hawaii.gov). Numerous other government agencies and private entities also contributed to the development of the Hawaii Brightfields Initiative with review of the tool and suggestions for features.
About the Hawaii State Energy Office
The Hawaii State Energy Office (HSEO) is an attached agency of the state’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. HSEO is committed to developing and deploying high impact solutions that will maximize Hawaii’s renewable energy resources and improve efficiency and transportation standards. Through effective policies and innovative programs, HSEO has positioned Hawaii as a leader in clean energy innovation, which will generate quality jobs, attract investment opportunities and accelerate economic growth. For more information, visit energy.hawaii.gov
About the Hawaii Department of Health Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response Office
The Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response (HEER) Office provides leadership, support, and partnership in preventing, planning for, responding to, and enforcing environmental laws relating to releases or threats of releases of hazardous substances into the environment. Supported by US EPA, the HEER Office oversees the state’s active Brownfields Program, which facilitates assessment, cleanup, and safe, efficient redevelopment of contaminated properties statewide through technical assistance, guidance and oversight to property owners, developers and prospective purchasers.
About the Hawaii Statewide GIS Program
Authorized under Chapter 225M-2(b)(4)(B), Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS), as amended, the Hawaii Statewide GIS Program within the Office of Planning leads a multi-agency effort to establish, promote and coordinate the use of GIS data and technology among Hawaii state agencies. The program is critical to more than 600 state GIS data and system users across more than a dozen state departments that develop and maintain a wide variety of data, maps and applications — many of which are available to the public and/or relied upon by state personnel. For more information, visit the Hawaii Statewide GIS Program main webpage at: planning.hawaii.gov/gis or visit the Geospatial Data Portal at: geoportal.hawaii.gov.