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.
Archive for the ‘Wind’ Category
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.
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.
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.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy and the power outage debacle that followed, many have touted the advantages of renewable energy sources in such situations,especially when compared to the failures of the traditional grid. Compelling arguments were made for solar and wind in particular. Yet, both energy types also have their drawbacks in a storm scenario.
Though the Jersey Atlantic Wind Project outside Atlantic City encountered hurricane-force gusts during the storm, the turbines survived with no damage, according to OnEarth. Of course if power lines were down in the area, there was nowhere for the wind project’s energy to go once it was back up and running, but it’s still a notable accomplishment. OnEarth also notes that Sandy’s winds had died down somewhat by the time it hit New Jersey, and turbine manufacturers will have to improve their standards if they want their systems to survive stronger storms.
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.