A study just published in the journal Energy Policy shows that New York could be powered entirely using only renewable resources. Authored by volunteer researchers from Stanford, Cornell, and U.C. at Davis, the study could provide a glimmer of hope for those against potential hydraulic fracking and current nuclear plants such as the much maligned Indian Point.
Aside from producing 100% of the state’s energy needs, the plan will also create 4.5 million jobs initially and about 58,000 annually thereafter. While the cost for such a monumental shift is large, it can be offset entirely in only 17 years with savings elsewhere as a direct result. The plan would reduce air pollution such that 4,000 annual deaths in New York attributed to dirty air could be avoided along with $33 billion in related health-care savings. Those savings combined with sales of excess electricity would pay for the plan in only 10 years. The only apparent caveat to the study is the assumption that every car in the state be powered by either electricity or hydrogen fuel cells. While this may be far-fetched, for the folks living near nuclear reactors or opposed to shale gas drilling, it may just be worth a deeper look.
The researchers examined historical data and performed extensive calculations to develop a plan that they say would meet all of the state’s needs. Under their proposal, 10 percent of the state’s power would come from onshore wind, 40 percent from offshore wind, 10 percent from concentrated solar power systems, 10 percent from solar power plants, 6 percent from residential rooftop photovoltaics, 12 percent from commercial and governmental rooftop photovoltaics, 5 percent from geothermal sources, 0.5 percent from wave energy, 1 percent from tidal power devices, and 5.5 percent from hydroelectric plants. Under this scenario, all vehicles would run on electric power or hydrogen fuel cells.