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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sustainability and the environment were a major focus of Mayor Bloomberg’s State of the City address last week. According to Bloomberg, the city has cut its carbon footprint by 16 percent in the last five years, and the goal is to reduce it by an additional 30 percent in the next 10 years.
One of the initiatives announced in the mayor’s speech was a big push for electric vehicles. In addition to a city pilot program for ultra-fast curbside charging stations, Bloomberg wants to add 50 electric cars to the city’s fleet and switch over a third of the taxi fleet to electric by 2020. He also plans to change the city’s building code to make up to 20 percent of new public parking spaces in private developments EV-compatible, which he said would add 10,000 parking spots for electric vehicles in the next seven years.