Federal researchers are trying to determine whether Superfund sites, former landfills and other brownfields around the country have the potential to host solar panels, wind turbines and other renewable energy projects.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory announced the assessment Friday, saying they will focus on 26 sites.
The sites range from a massive copper mine in southwestern New Mexico to a former lead smelter in Montana and landfills in Arizona, Louisiana and New Jersey.
The EPA is spending about $1 million on the assessment. The agency's goals are to reduce the amount of green space used for renewable energy development and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
EPA officials say the study is the first step toward transforming the sites from eyesores to community assets.