Recently, the city released a 5-year progress report for its PlaNYC environmental and energy initiative. While some progress had been made on the program’s renewable energy goals, much still remains to be done. First, the good news. The city has installed 648 kilowatts of PV on government-owned buildings, and recently issued an RFP for a combined solar and wind project at the Fresh Kills landfill. With CUNY as a partner, the city launched the NYC Solar Map that allows residents to figure out if their rooftops are right for PV. A 15-megawatt cogeneration plant is under construction at Rikers Island. Overall, greenhouse gas emissions per unit of electrical power have decreased since 2007.
On the other side of things, energy use per capita has not changed in the past five years. Of PlaNYC’s 10 goals to “foster the market for renewable energy in New York City,” two have not been started and the rest are still “in progress.” The city has yet to look at ways that consumers could pool together to purchase renewable energy, or work with energy companies to measure greenhouse gas offsets when purchasing renewable energy credits. Officials tout the city’s role in supporting the Long Island Offshore Wind Project, but the turbines are years away from coming online. Though it is in the works, the city hasn’t come out with a “one-stop” website for solar permit application and tracking. Overall, there is much the city still must accomplish by 2030.