NY Could Soon Be Powered 100% by Renewables
New York has the potential to get all of its power needs from renewable energy by 2030, according to a new study led by researchers at the universities of Stanford and Cornell.
The theoretical roadmap laid out would require massive investments in wind turbines, solar panels and offshore wind resources off the Long Island coast, the Associated Press reports.
Nonetheless, “It's doable,” says co-author Robert Howarth, a Cornell professor of ecology and environmental biology. "It's way outside of the realm of what most people are talking about ... But I think people have been too pessimistic about what can be done."
Currently, New York's renewable energy portfolio is funded by a surcharge of less than a dollar on monthly electricity bills under the 2004 program enacted under then-Governor George Pataki. The city's current goal is to obtain about 10.4 million megawatt hours of energy, nearly 30 percent of total energy, from renewables each year by 2015—a goal that is now nearly halfway completed.
Although it is still iffy as to whether or not New York will hit the 2015 target, the larger point is that the city is making significant progress.
"To me, the long-term commitment to continue to invest in resources is more important than the particular target you set," Valerie Strauss, interim executive director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, told the AP.
Since 2004, New York has jumped from 48 megawatts of wind capacity to over 1,600 megawatts today. University researchers believe that wind will play a large role in the state's overall power portfolio by 2030, with a huge chunk of power coming from offshore turbines.
This year, authorities will review the state's renewable energy program and the possibility of extending it beyond 2015.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.