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.
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.
That’s a good question. The announcement from Gov. Cuomo’s office about the latest round of NY-Sun grants – $46 million for 76 large-scale projects totally 52 MW of power – just states they installations will be in 33 counties, which covers more than half the state. It’s a little difficult to tell how many, if any, will be built in New York City based on that.
An even better question might be why so many of the grants are going to companies based outside the state. Just nine of the 28 companies listed are based in New York, although an additional six at least have an office in the state.
Last month, Gov. Cuomo’s State of the State Address spoke boldly about renewable energy and other environmental initiatives. One major proposal is the creation of a $1 billion Green Bank for investment in clean energy. Renewable energy projects in New York City tend to have higher price tags than elsewhere in the state, just as a cost of doing business, so any additional help such systems can get will be welcome. However, if the Green Bank will be partially funded by the Renewable Portfolio Standards and System Benefit Charge, it is likely the City will contribute more than it gets back.
Last week, I wrote about Gov. Cuomo’s plans for wind power and how it might affect New York City in his New York Energy Highway Blueprint. The plan also details other ways that the City might benefit from the state’s energy updates. First off, it predicts that developing electricity transmission within the state will improve air quality in New York City, presumably by negating the need for City residents to use pollution-spewing generators during peak hours in the summer.
In addition, the blueprint considers the possibility of the Indian Point nuclear plant shutting down. A Request for Information brought in proposed projects totaling over 6,000 MW of energy that could be located in the New York City region or the Hudson Valley. However, there is no indication how many of those proposals involve renewable energy. Moreover, Indian Point has applied for an extension of its operating licenses, so the plans may never move forward.
Gov. Cuomo’s recently released New York Energy Highway Blueprint involves big plans for wind power – and how wind could benefit New York City. The plan examines a future where upstate wind farms and offshore turbines help to power the state’s biggest energy consumer. However, that future is still years away from becoming reality.
Significant upgrades must be made to New York’s electricity transmission in order for the City to benefit from upstate wind energy. Of the 6,000 megawatts of existing and proposed land-based wind farms in the state, none are in New York City, or even on Long Island or in the other counties immediately surrounding the City.
While the Blueprint calls for studies to examine the potential for offshore wind and how initial investments of such projects can be recuperated, those studies will not be completed until at least the end of 2014. The plan points to the failed proposals for offshore farms in the Great Lakes and off Jones Beach on Long Island. While offshore wind clearly shows promise, the governor’s Task Force advises proceeding with caution.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has won two of the seven 2012 State Leadership in Clean Energy Awards for programs that fund clean energy installments and research.
The state’s On-Site Wind Market Development Program for funding small wind turbine projects was recognized for its innovation and adaptability. NYSERDA’s was one of the first to base incentives on the predicted performance of a wind turbine, rather than installed capacity. The Authority has also worked with other organizations to promote green jobs training and turbine testing.
NYSERDA’s Clean Energy Business Incubator Program involves six incubators that provide funding and guidance to clean energy start-ups. The program’s 94 participating companies have raised a total of $94 million in private and government financing and created 193 jobs and 94 new products.