Massive wind power installations could help New York cast off fossil fuels

Wind energy could play a major role in providing all the power needed for the entire state of New York by 2030, according to a new academic study.

New York’s power demand for all sectors in 17 years time could be met, in part, by 4,020 onshore 5-megawatt wind turbines and 12,770 offshore 5-MW machines, the study by researchers from Cornell, Stanford and the University of California-Davis found.

Harnessing power from water and sunlight would also be part of the alternative energy plan for New York, which has close to 20 million people and is the third most populated state in the US.

“Converting to wind, water and sunlight is feasible, will stabilize costs of energy and will produce jobs while reducing health and climate damage,” study co-author Mark Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford, was quoted as saying.

“We must be ambitious if we want to promote energy independence and curb global warming,” co-author Robert Howarth, a Cornell University professor of ecology and environmental biology, said in a Stanford Report story about the study.

The story added the study, if implemented, would see New York ceasing to use natural gas and imported fossil fuels. In addition to harnessing wind, water and sunlight (WWS), the study sees geothermal providing part of New York’s future alternative energy needs along with hydro-electric resources.

“The study concludes that while a WWS conversion may result in initial capital cost increases, such as the cost of building renewable energy power plants, these costs would be more than made up for over time by the elimination of fuel costs,” the story said.

“The overall switch would reduce New York’s end-use power demand by about 37 percent and stabilize energy prices, since fuel costs would be zero, according to the study. It would also create a net gain in manufacturing, installation and technology jobs because nearly all the state’s energy would be produced within the state.”

Almost all of New York’s energy now comes from imported oil, coal and gas, the story said, adding the study shows 40% of the state’s energy could come by 2030 from local wind power, 38% from local solar and the remainder from a combination of hydro-electric, geothermal, tidal and wave energy.

The study also showed that air pollution–related deaths would decline by about 4,000 annually and the state would save about €25 in related health costs every year if New York switched to WWS.


By Chris Rose,