skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Long-Term Monitoring of Utility-Scale Solar Energy Development and Application of Remote Sensing Technologies: Summary Report

Abstract

In anticipation of increased utility-scale solar energy development over the next 20 to 50 years, federal agencies and other organizations have identified a need to develop comprehensive long-term monitoring programs specific to solar energy development. Increasingly, stakeholders are requesting that federal agencies, such as the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management (BLM), develop rigorous and comprehensive long-term monitoring programs. Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne) is assisting the BLM in developing an effective long-term monitoring plan as required by the BLM Solar Energy Program to study the environmental effects of solar energy development. The monitoring data can be used to protect land resources from harmful development practices while at the same time reducing restrictions on utility-scale solar energy development that are determined to be unnecessary. The development of a long-term monitoring plan that incorporates regional datasets, prioritizes requirements in the context of landscape-scale conditions and trends, and integrates cost-effective data collection methods (such as remote sensing technologies) will translate into lower monitoring costs and increased certainty for solar developers regarding requirements for developing projects on public lands. This outcome will support U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Sunshot Program goals. For this reason, the DOE provided funding for the workmore » presented in this report.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States). Environmental Science Division
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Solar Energy Technologies Office (EE-4S)
OSTI Identifier:
1172035
Report Number(s):
ANL/EVS-14/12
108329
DOE Contract Number:
AC02-06CH11357
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English

Citation Formats

Hamada, Yuki, Grippo, Mark A., and Smith, Karen P. Long-Term Monitoring of Utility-Scale Solar Energy Development and Application of Remote Sensing Technologies: Summary Report. United States: N. p., 2014. Web. doi:10.2172/1172035.
Hamada, Yuki, Grippo, Mark A., & Smith, Karen P. Long-Term Monitoring of Utility-Scale Solar Energy Development and Application of Remote Sensing Technologies: Summary Report. United States. doi:10.2172/1172035.
Hamada, Yuki, Grippo, Mark A., and Smith, Karen P. Tue . "Long-Term Monitoring of Utility-Scale Solar Energy Development and Application of Remote Sensing Technologies: Summary Report". United States. doi:10.2172/1172035. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1172035.
@article{osti_1172035,
title = {Long-Term Monitoring of Utility-Scale Solar Energy Development and Application of Remote Sensing Technologies: Summary Report},
author = {Hamada, Yuki and Grippo, Mark A. and Smith, Karen P.},
abstractNote = {In anticipation of increased utility-scale solar energy development over the next 20 to 50 years, federal agencies and other organizations have identified a need to develop comprehensive long-term monitoring programs specific to solar energy development. Increasingly, stakeholders are requesting that federal agencies, such as the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management (BLM), develop rigorous and comprehensive long-term monitoring programs. Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne) is assisting the BLM in developing an effective long-term monitoring plan as required by the BLM Solar Energy Program to study the environmental effects of solar energy development. The monitoring data can be used to protect land resources from harmful development practices while at the same time reducing restrictions on utility-scale solar energy development that are determined to be unnecessary. The development of a long-term monitoring plan that incorporates regional datasets, prioritizes requirements in the context of landscape-scale conditions and trends, and integrates cost-effective data collection methods (such as remote sensing technologies) will translate into lower monitoring costs and increased certainty for solar developers regarding requirements for developing projects on public lands. This outcome will support U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Sunshot Program goals. For this reason, the DOE provided funding for the work presented in this report.},
doi = {10.2172/1172035},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Tue Sep 30 00:00:00 EDT 2014},
month = {Tue Sep 30 00:00:00 EDT 2014}
}

Technical Report:

Save / Share:
  • Monitoring environmental impacts over large, remote desert regions for long periods of time can be very costly. Remote sensing technologies present a promising monitoring tool because they entail the collection of spatially contiguous data, automated processing, and streamlined data analysis. This report provides a summary of remote sensing products and refinement of remote sensing data interpretation methodologies that were generated as part of the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management Solar Energy Program. In March 2015, a team of researchers from Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne) collected field data of vegetation and surface types from more than 5,000more » survey points within the eastern part of the Riverside East Solar Energy Zone (SEZ). Using the field data, remote sensing products that were generated in 2014 using very high spatial resolution (VHSR; 15 cm) multispectral aerial images were validated in order to evaluate potential refinements to the previous methodologies to improve the information extraction accuracy.« less
  • A monitoring plan that incorporates regional datasets and integrates cost-effective data collection methods is necessary to sustain the long-term environmental monitoring of utility-scale solar energy development in expansive, environmentally sensitive desert environments. Using very high spatial resolution (VHSR; 15 cm) multispectral imagery collected in November 2012 and January 2014, an image processing routine was developed to characterize ephemeral streams, vegetation, and land surface in the southwestern United States where increased utility-scale solar development is anticipated. In addition to knowledge about desert landscapes, the methodology integrates existing spectral indices and transformation (e.g., visible atmospherically resistant index and principal components); a newlymore » developed index, erosion resistance index (ERI); and digital terrain and surface models, all of which were derived from a common VHSR image. The methodology identified fine-scale ephemeral streams with greater detail than the National Hydrography Dataset and accurately estimated vegetation distribution and fractional cover of various surface types. The ERI classified surface types that have a range of erosive potentials. The remote-sensing methodology could ultimately reduce uncertainty and monitoring costs for all stakeholders by providing a cost-effective monitoring approach that accurately characterizes the land resources at potential development sites.« less
  • At Hanford, Savannah River, Oak Ridge, Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL), and other DOE sites, field vadose zone observations have shown complex water seepage and mass transport behavior in a highly heterogeneous, thick vadose zone on a variety of scales. Recent investigation showed that severe contamination of soils and groundwater by organic contaminant and nuclear waste occurred because of water seepage and contaminant transport along localized, preferential, fast flow within the heterogeneous vadose zone. However, most of the existing characterization and monitoring methods are not able to locate these localized and persistent preferential pathways associated with specific heterogeneousmore » geologic features, such as clastic dikes, caliche layers, or fractures. In addition, changes in the chemical composition of moving and indigenous solutes, particularly sodium concentration, redox conditions, biological transformation of organic materials, and high temperature, may significantly alter water, chemicals, and bio-transformation exchange between the zones of fast flow and the rest of the media. In this paper, using the data from Hanford and INEEL sites, we will (1) present evidence that central problems of the vadose zone investigations are associated with preferential, fast flow phenomena and accelerated migration of organic and radioactive elements, (2) identify gaps in current characterization and monitoring technologies, and (3) recommend actions for the development of advanced vadose zone characterization and monitoring methods using a combination of hydrologic, geochemical, and geophysical techniques.« less
  • During FY 1994, the Oak Ridge Environmental Restoration (ER) Remote Sensing Program teamed with members of the Oak Ridge National Security Program Office (NSPO), the Environmental Research Institute of Michigan (ERIM) under contract to the National Exploitation Laboratory (NEL), the Oak Ridge Waste Area Group 4 (WAG 4) ER Program, and the US Department of Energy (DOE), Offices of Technology Development, Nonproliferation and National Security, and Environmental Restoration, to conduct a test and demonstration of the uses of national remote sensing technologies at DOE hazardous waste sites located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Objectives of the Oak Ridge study were tomore » determine if national remote sensing technologies are useful in conducting prescreening, characterization, and/or monitoring activities to expedite the clean-up process at hazardous waste sites and to cut clean-up costs wherever possible. This project was sponsored by the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Project (SERDP).« less