Wednesday, May 06, 2009

NY Leading The Wind Power Revolution In The U.S.

Wind power has been around for centuries, from small family farms in the Midwest to the windmills of Holland. Despite our knowledge of this clean, renewable energy source, our society still heavily relies on fossil fuels like coal and toxic nuclear material. However, things are slowly changing for the better. Even in America, with global warming deniers running rampant, change is happening. And I'm proud to say that the State of New York is leading the way.

From SET Energy:

SET’s home state of New York is moving to become a leader in offshore wind power. Both the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) have offshore wind farms they are pursuing. The NYPA project would be the first major freshwater wind farm in the world. And the LIPA project could end up as the biggest proposed offshore wind farm in the US.

New York Needs to Accelerate its Renewable Deployment

New York has one of the highest renewable shares of electricity at ~21.5%, largely due to the hydroelectric plant at Niagara Falls (only Washington and Oregon currently have higher renewable shares, also mainly due to hydro). New York aims to get 45% of its electricity from renewables by 2015, a goal that will take tremendous deployment to achieve. In fact, renewable capacity of ~10 GW is necessary to reach 45% at current generation levels. Achieving such a high capacity by 2015 would translate into average annual deployment of 1.5 GW.

As I wrote a few weeks ago, NY recently became one of only eight states with over 1 GW of wind power capacity. All of the existing wind capacity in NY and the rest of the country is land-based. Now, state leaders have their sites on offshore wind helping NY reach several GW capacity by 2015.

With offshore sites, brand new freshwater wind farms and the great Niagara backing the rest of the renewables up, New York is leading the way. However, merely having a great waterfall isn't going to win the day. Groups like NYPIRG have fought hard to mandate renewable energy standards and the power of dedicated people behind them has led to successes such as that 45% minimum required by 2015. It just goes to show that when people get together to create change, dedication to that cause eventually makes things happen.