AT&T to Install Free Solar Phone Chargers

This week AT&T announced it had teamed up with the city to set up 25 free solar charging stations throughout the five boroughs. The project is a response to New Yorkers’ inability to charge phones and other devices during the widespread power outages following Hurricane Sandy.

So far, only a few of the stations have been rolled out with the rest expected to come online later in the summer. Some of the locations don’t seem very practical if the point is to help out in potential storm-affected areas (if you’re trapped on Governor’s Island during a hurricane, I think you’ve got bigger problems). Still, hopefully the initiative will be successful enough so that an adequate number of stations will be available the next time the power goes out.

NYC’s Post-Sandy Plan Mostly Silent on Renewables

This week, Mayor Bloomberg released a plan for preparing New York City for the next major hurricane. Given the extensive and lengthy power outages following Hurricane Sandy, you would think alternative energy sources would feature somewhat prominently in the plan. However, the section on Utilities focuses mostly on fortifying existing energy infrastructure.

The plan does put forth one goal for expanding the city’s distributed generation projects, such as cogeneration plants and PV installations. The city will also work with CUNY’s Smart DG Hub to study how solar could be used during blackouts, and will conduct research on micro-grids.

Check Out: “Report: Green Business Leads to a Greener Bottom Line” on

Providing eco-friendly and sustainable products and services appears to give small businesses a competitive advantage, according to a new report by Green America, EcoVentures International and the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO).

Nearly four out of five (79 percent) of the small businesses they surveyed say offering green products and services gives them a leg up on their rivals. Meanwhile, three out of four say sales for green products and services increased over the past few years, despite the economic downturn, and plan to add more to their portfolio. What’s more, the greener the business, the greener its bottom line. Businesses that show a stronger commitment to green services and practices report higher sales, the report finds.

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NY Lags on Solar Jobs

The Solar Foundation put out a state solar jobs map tallying up where jobs related to the solar industry can be found. Though New York can claim 3,300 solar jobs, the state ranks 25th in terms of jobs per capita. Even by sheer number of jobs, New York is only seventh, behind California, Arizona, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Colorado. Not surprisingly, the price of electricity in New York is the nation’s fourth highest. The state has 27,035 homes powered by PV, which makes it 11th in the U.S. for that metric.

Once again, our neighbor to the south puts New York to shame. New Jersey boasts 5,700 solar jobs (third highest overall), ranks 9th for jobs per capita and has 138,950 PV-powered homes – third highest in the U.S. and over five times that of NY. It’s time for our state to step up and reach its full PV potential.

Mayoral Candidates Discuss Energy Policies

On April 22, I attended the 2013 New York City Mayoral Forum on Sustainability, hosted by the New York League of Conservation Voters and the Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design. It was the first time all nine mayoral hopefuls appeared together. The candidates answered questions on issues from carbon emissions reduction to flood zone redevelopment to city parks. Here’s a summary of the participants’ comments on energy.

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10 Companies Join City’s Carbon Challenge

This week 10 companies joined the Carbon Challenge, a pledge to match the city’s 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the next 10 years as part of PlaNYC. The companies include American International Group, BlackRock, Bloomberg LP, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Google, JetBlue Airways, JPMorgan Chase and PVH. Some already have plans in place to reduce emissions.

The corporate partners join the 17 universities who started the Carbon Challenge in 2007 and 11 hospitals that joined in 2009. Barnard College, the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York University, Rockefeller University and New York Hospital Queens have already achieved their goal of 30 percent emissions reduction.

As part of the Carbon Challenge, NYC hopes to reach a 30 percent reduction in emissions in government buildings by 2017 and city-wide by 2030. So far, government buildings have achieved a 12 percent emissions reduction, while city-wide emissions have dropped 16 percent.

Study Finds NY Can Be 100% Renewable by 2030

New York State could get all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and earn back its infrastructure investments in 10 years, according to a study by a team of researchers.

The researchers’ plan calls for 271 GW of energy with a mix of 40% offshore wind, 10% onshore wind, 10% concentrated solar, 10% mega PV plants, 12% commercial and government rooftop solar, 6% small residential PV, 5% geothermal, 1% tidal, 0.5% wave and 5.5% hydroelectric power, the majority of which is already in use.

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