New York state may be a lot closer to completely running on renewable energy than we once thought. A new study led by researchers at Stanford and Cornell Universities reveals that New York could be completely powered by clean technology within the next 17 years. Investments in wind turbines, solar panels, sun-exposed rooftops and power generated from water could prove to be a step in the right direction to advance the state’s decade-long attempt to boost green energy.
In 2004, then Governor George Pataki began a renewable portfolio standard setting the goal for New York to rely on 25 percent of its electricity by 2013. After concerns were raised that the plan might be a bit ambitious, the goal was tweaked three years ago. The new plan includes a goal of producing about 10.4 million megawatt-hours of renewable energy supported by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority annually by 2015. To date, 46 percent of that goal has been reached.
According to the university researchers, by 2030 renewable power could account for half of the state’s energy production. Inevitably, the plan is not without its challenges—for instance, wind development slowed when the economy regressed and the prices of natural gas began to drop. Additionally, the future of federal tax credits for the installation of wind turbines is less than certain.
But making the switch to clean energy and meeting a goal of 100 percent rewnewables by 2030 isn’t a debate about whether the technology is available. According to authority spokeswoman Kate Muller who spoke with UTICOAD, New York has developed more renewable energy compared to any other state in the Northeast. The switch will largely depend on market demand and political support. Katherine Kennedy of the Natural Resources Defense Council explains: “It depends on the political will we can muster and our ability to invest in these resources.”