Clean energy may come to one of New York’s dirtiest spots

Massive solar panels at Fresh Kills could generate enough energy to power 6,000 homes.

Clean energy is coming to what was once one of the dirtiest spots in New York City.

Yesterday, the city announced a request for proposals for the design and installation of solar and wind power facilities on the former Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island. There are approximately 75 acres of land available for lease at the site.

If large-scale solar panels or wind turbines are built on those acres, they could generate up to 20 megawatts of renewable energy, enough to power roughly 6,000 homes, according to officials.
Depending on the proposals the city receives, all of those homes may be located in Staten Island, or the energy produced could be sold back into the grid.

“If successful, (this) will more than double the renewable energy capacity in the city,” said Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway yesterday.

Officials hope the installation of solar and wind power will help offset New York’s voracious appetite for energy during the upcoming hottest days of summer, when everyone in the city blasts air conditioners.

On days like those, the high demand for electricity forces the activation of “peaker” plants, which environmental experts say are not only inefficient, but also burn heavy fuel oil.

The sprawling, 2,200-acre Fresh Kills landfill, located on the western shore of Staten Island, served as the city’s main solid-waste dumping ground until 2001, when it was closed. In 2006, the city started working on plans to convert all of those 2,200 acres into a park.

Eco-plans ahead

Yesterday’s announcement is only the first of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s initiatives to expand renewable energy in New York City.
The Planning Commission is currently reviewing changes to the zoning law that would allow 55-foot-high wind turbines to be built on top of buildings taller than 100 feet, according to a report in The New York Times.

More wind turbines may also be built on industrial sites along the city’s waterfront.

The mayor is backing a proposal by the New York Power Authority to build a wind farm in the Atlantic Ocean, 13 miles off the coast of the Rockaways.

Bloomberg has said he wants a 30 percent reduction in New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2030.


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