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.
Posts Tagged ‘PlaNYC’
This week 10 companies joined the Carbon Challenge, a pledge to match the city’s 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the next 10 years as part of PlaNYC. The companies include American International Group, BlackRock, Bloomberg LP, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Google, JetBlue Airways, JPMorgan Chase and PVH. Some already have plans in place to reduce emissions.
The corporate partners join the 17 universities who started the Carbon Challenge in 2007 and 11 hospitals that joined in 2009. Barnard College, the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York University, Rockefeller University and New York Hospital Queens have already achieved their goal of 30 percent emissions reduction.
As part of the Carbon Challenge, NYC hopes to reach a 30 percent reduction in emissions in government buildings by 2017 and city-wide by 2030. So far, government buildings have achieved a 12 percent emissions reduction, while city-wide emissions have dropped 16 percent.
The New York League of Conservation Voters has released a policy agenda called “Blueprint for a Greener New York City.” Covering energy, transportation, parks, water, food and waste, the document outlines what the organization hopes Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council will accomplish before the end of their terms in 2013.
On the topic of energy, the city has already or is in the process of carrying out most of NYLCV’s recommendations. Reducing the carbon footprint of new and existing buildings has been set in motion by the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan and the initial successes of the Green Codes Task Force. PlaNYC has been working to phase out dirty heating oils. And progress has been made on developing tidal energy technology in the East River and installing PV on city-owned buildings. If our elected officials continue to prioritize these initiatives, NYLCV’s goals seem easily attainable.
At the Rio+20 summit, the United Nations Environment Programme announced a new initiative aimed at helping cities become more sustainable, citing the rising number of global citizens who live in urban areas and the disproportionately high amount of waste, pollution and energy usage such areas produce. The Global Initiative for Resource-Efficient Cities will be a resource for large cities around the world to target green objectives like energy efficient buildings, efficient water use and sustainable waste management. There’s no certainty over whether New York will participate in the initiative, but I thought it would be fun to see how the city scores in the key areas of focus and what it could gain from the U.N.’s efforts.
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.
Some belated Earth Day reading:
- Brooklyn Children’s Museum Declared New York’s First ‘Green’ Museum on 4/23 (Broadwayworld.com): A press release (?) on the museum’s LEED Silver status, 27 kW solar panels, and eco-education programs.
- Earth Day at 40: Four more steps eco-friendly NYC can take (am New York‘s Urbanite blog): Step 4 – update the energy grid.
- NYC Gets Its “Green” On In Celebration Of Earth Day (NYLCV’s ecopolitics daily): A PlaNYC progress report claims over half of the plan’s objectives have been “achieved or mostly achieved.”
Here’s the latest news on green energy in New York:
- TD Bank’s first green branch sprouts in Queens (Crain’s New York Business): About 20 percent of the bank’s energy will come from on-site solar panels.
- $279m approved for New York clean energy projects (BrighterEnergy.org): A much needed update to the Renewable Portfolio Standard. NYC and the Hudson Valley will also get $150 million for large-scale projects.
- Sunny side of the Solarium (Daily News): A green condo complex in Long Island City will sport a 6-foot windmill.
- Renewable Energy Bill Would Make Uncompetitive Technologies Turn a Profit (City Hall): The bill would require energy companies to purchase a certain amount of their electricity from renewable sources.
- Bloomberg’s green guru heads for greener pastures (Daily Politics blog of the Daily News): It’s unclear who will head up PlaNYC as Rohit Aggarwala follows his fiancée to California.