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.
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.
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.
Offshore wind in the Atlantic Ocean has the potential to provide 1,300 gigawatts of power, according to The Turning Point for Atlantic Offshore Wind, a report by the National Wildlife Federation. Even 52 GW would be enough to power 14 million homes and create $200 billion in economic activity. And just 7.7 GW of offshore wind would create over 300,000 jobs and increase GDP by $30 billion.
Not only that, but for every 1,000 megawatts of wind energy fed into the grid, it is estimated consumers save $300 million in electricity costs.
I planned this post with the intention of comparing how President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney stand on alternative energy and how those policies might potentially affect New York. However, the websites for both candidates are remarkably lacking in any specifics on those issues. While both give general overviews for energy and the environment – and Romney’s omissions on green energy are the more telling – it’s hard to say based on official policy statements what either would do in relation to renewables in the next four years.
After a brief hiatus from this blog, there’s an abundance of clean energy news coming out of New York:
New York continues to get excited about the idea of sustainable energy, but it still has a long way to go – especially when compared to a certain neighbor. Here’s some news you should know: