The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

Converting New York State Entirely to Renewable Energy: What Would It Look Like?

While the State of New York hashes out deep disagreement over how to deal with sugary megadrinks that contribute to obesity, maybe they can turn their attention to something a little less complicated — like mapping a full conversion to 100 percent renewable energy in less than 20 years.

Stanford Professor Mark Z. Jacobson previously co-authored studies in 2009 and 2011, outlining what it would take to shift completely to renewable energy at a global and national scale, respectively. In either case, such conversion would be a colossal undertaking in infrastructure, policy, finance, and partnerships.

But could it be more feasible to do it on a smaller scale — say, an individual state? Jacobson has now shrunk those analyses down to what it would take for the State of New York to shift its entire energy needs — transportation, electricity, heating and cooling — to renewable sources. Bottom line: It is all doable, with some important cost comparisons and behavioral shifts. "We think it's feasible to power the grid this way," Jacobson told RenewableEnergyWorld.com. "The assumption that you can't do it, is just an assumption."

The study, scheduled for upcoming publication in the journal Energy Policy, breaks down the specific mix of renewable energy ("wind, water and sunlight," or WWS) required to convert New York's all-purpose energy infrastructure. It uses 11 criteria to evaluate each technology: e.g. resource abundance, footprint and spacing, operating reliability, water consumption, emissions and pollution. Excluding mined natural gas, liquid biofuels, nuclear power, and carbon-capture coal (for reasons detailed in the full study), here's what they come up with as New York's renewables-only mix by 2030:

  • 40 percent: Offshore wind (12,770 5-megawatt turbines)
  • 10 percent: Onshore wind (4,020 5-MW turbines)
  • 10 percent: Concentrated solar (387 100-MW CSP plants)
  • 10 percent: Utility-scale solar PV (828 50-MW plants)
  • 6 percent: Residential rooftop PV (5,000,000 5-kW systems)
  • 12 percent: Commercial/government rooftop PV (500,000 100-kW systems)
  • 5.5 percent: Hydro (7 1.3-GW hydroelectric power plants, most of which already exist)
  • 5 percent: Geothermal (36 100-MW plants)
  • 1 percent: Tidal (2,600 1-MW tidal turbines)
  • 0.5 percent: Wave energy (1,910 0.75-MW wave devices)

The end result, according to the study: power demand would be reduced by 37 percent, fuel costs would be zero, there would be a net increase in jobs, nearly all energy would be produced in-state, costs (and mortality) associated with pollution and emissions would decline significantly, and the 271 GW of installed power needed would be repaid within 17 years.

Such a transition won't happen easily or overnight, of course. Jacobson proposes some ~40 short-term policy options, including expanding the state's renewable portfolio standard (RPS), setting goals for offshore wind, establishing a green bank, implementing feed-in tariffs and net metering, more electric vehicles, etc. Another big part of the picture will be much more aggressive targets for energy efficiency, currently 15 percent less energy use by 2015. He also offers suggestions to smooth out variability of the renewable energy sources, by bundling them with hydro or stored CSP power, using demand-response management, oversizing the mix, and using energy storage. He cites two recent studies showing up to >99.8 percent of electricity could be produced using these "WWS" resources over multiple years.

The study wasn't funded from any group; it was requested and encouraged by people working on different types of energy proposals in New York State, Jacobson noted. He's subsequently put together a similar renewables roadmap for California, and is starting another one for Washington State. The model could be replicated for all 50 states, he says, with customized mixes of energy that take advantage of local resources, and with improvements to transmission systems and interconnections. And, of course, the commitment to make it happen.

Lead image: Map of New York State, via Shutterstock

Untitled Document

RELATED ARTICLES

Some Hope for US Renewable Energy Tax Credits As Extension Bill Passes Committee

Vince Font In a lopsided 23-3 vote, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee voted yesterday to extend a number of renewable energy production tax credits through the end of 2016. The vote allows developers of wind, geothermal, biomass, land...
Renewable energy globe lightbulb

Global Renewable Energy Is Status Positive

David Appleyard, Contributing Editor The headline figure from the authoritative REN21 Renewables Global Status Report 2015 (GSR) states renewables accounted for more than 59 percent of all new electricity generating capacity installed worldwide during 2014.
US flag

Mid-Year Celebrations: Fireworks, A World Cup, And Clean Energy Momentum

Clint Wilder, Clean Edge This month alone, we Americans celebrated our nation’s birthday, capped off perfectly by the USA women’s soccer team’s sensational 5-2 victory in the World Cup final. As we hit the halfway point of 2015, the clean-energy in...
Sandia National Labs

Sandia Lab Program To Assist Small Clean Energy Companies

Sandia National Labs The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) chose Sandia National Laboratories as one of five leads in a pilot that will give small, clean-energy companies access to national laboratory expertise and resources. Sandia wil...
Jim is Contributing Editor for RenewableEnergyWorld.com, covering the solar and wind beats. He previously was associate editor for Solid State Technology and Photovoltaics World, and has covered semiconductor manufacturing and related industries, ...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 4
1507REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Doing Business in South Africa – in partnership with GWEC, the Glob...

Wind Energy in South Africa has been expanding dramatically, growing fro...

Presenting at Infocast's Utility Scale Solar Summit 2015

Oct. 21, 2015 4:30-5:15pm Albie Fong, National Director, Solar Frontier ...

Utility Scale Solar Summit 2015

Oct. 21, 2015 4:30-5:15pm Albie Fong, National Director, Solar Frontier ...

COMPANY BLOGS

Behind Every Good Decision

When something about your business isn’t working, you set out to c...

Clean Energy Patents Maintain High Levels in First Quarter, Solar L...

U.S. patents for Clean Energy technologies from the first quarter of 201...

An Overwhelming Paradox

I’m sure we’re all very familiar with the feeling of being o...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS