Staten Island, home to the un-greenest mess in New York City in the form of the former Fresh Kills landfill, has been popping up recently on the sustainable radar. Now, it’s the mess itself that may be the answer to the greening of energy for all of New York City. Well, the beginning of an answer.
Last week, Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro wrote an op-ed in City Hall (and posed with a rather cute model of a wind turbine for his photo) about a proposal to build seven 400-foot wind turbines that could generate 17 megawatts of energy – situated right at the site of the landfill. All this could be done, he wrote, for a mere $40 million funded by a private operator, at no cost to the city.
Unfortunately, those 17 megawatts are only enough to power 5000 homes. It’s a start, however, especially with the price of oil hovering at a record-high of $128 per barrel. But for the project to go forward, New York still must initiate a land-lease process on the site.
Staten Island may be one of the few places in New York City where the wind turbines can actually be effective. Wind patterns in Manhattan, for example, are just not sufficient for current turbine models, as the team behind the Bank of America Tower found out during testing for its LEED Platinum building in midtown.
City Hall’s sister publication The Capitol ran another story about the future of renewable energy in New York state. Space is an issue, leading to radical proposals such as lining the New York Thruway with solar panels. Because of lack of space, even the state’s largest proposed solar plant, the Long Island Power Authority’s Solar Project, would supply only 50 megawatts. Upstate, the prospects are brighter: the ten windfarms located in Lakawanna, Calverton, Fenner, South Holt, Madison and Wyoming counties already generate 425 megawatts.
Unsurprisingly, ConEd is concerned with how safely renewable energy can be incorporated into the grid. The utility’s spokesperson was quoted as saying that “[t]his extra energy could short out the grid or create surges if it is not regulated.”