March 19, 2013

NY State could be 100% renewable by 2030

A new study concludes that it would be technically and economically feasible for New York State to meet all of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2030, but researchers say the transition would involve building wind, solar, and other alternative energy sources on a mass scale. 

Writing in the journal Energy Policy, a team of researchers said that to wean itself from fossil fuels for electricity production and transportation, the state would need to build more than 4,000 onshore wind turbines, 12,700 offshore turbines, 828 photovoltaic plants, 5 million rooftop solar systems, and 2,600 one-megawatt tidal turbines. 

If implemented, New York — the nation's third-most populous state — would meet 40 percent of its energy needs with wind power and 38 percent from solar, the study said. While this dramatic conversion would require initial capital expenses, the study predicts that the long-term health benefits and new jobs would more than make up for those costs. 

The transition would also reduce end-use power demand by 37 percent, prevent 4,000 premature deaths annually, and save $33 billion in health costs each year, the researchers said. 

"We must be ambitious if we want to promote energy independence and curb global warming," said Robert Howarth, a Cornell University scientist and co-author of the study. [Yale 360]

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