Ithaca Journal Features Story on NYS Renewable Energy Conversion: Possible and Profitable

Cornell researchers contribute to plan for reducing all of New York State's fossil fuel use by 2030...


By David Nutt via the Ithaca Journal, 3/13/13

ITHACA — A new report co-authored by a Cornell University researcher found that New York state’s natural gas, coal and fossil fuel sources could be converted to wind, water and sunlight by 2030.

The change would stabilize electricity prices and reduce power demand by about 37 percent, as well as create thousands of permanent jobs, researchers say.

The report, “Examining the Feasibility of Converting New York State’s All-Purpose Energy Infrastructure to One Using Wind, Water and Sunlight,” was published in the journal Energy Policy and was co-authored by Robert W. Howarth, Cornell professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. The report’s lead author is Mark Z. Jacobson, of Stanford University.

“New York state has the opportunity to lead the nation and the world toward what we all know must be the energy path of the 21st Century,” Howarth said in a statement. “Here we show it can be done quickly, and at a net economic benefit to the state.”

According to the report, the energy plan would create 4.5 million jobs for the state during its construction phases. Once completed, 58,000 permanent jobs would be generated.

A full conversion by 2030 would require: 4,020 onshore, 5-megawatt wind turbines; 12,770 offshore, 5-megawatt wind turbines; 387 100-megawatt concentrated solar plants; 828 50-megawatt photovoltaic power plants; five million 5-kilowatt residential rooftop photovoltaic systems; 500,000 100-kilowatt rooftop systems; 36 100-megawatt geothermal plants; 1,910 0.75-megawatt wave devices; 2,600 1-megawatt tidal wind-turbines; and seven 1,300-megawatt hydroelectric power plants. These devices would occupy less than 1 percent of New York’s land area, according to the report.

“Can New York State rid itself of fossil fuel in the near future? The answer is ‘yes.’ The economics of this plan make sense, now it is up to the political sphere,” Anthony Ingraffea, Cornell University professor of engineering and a co-author on the report, said in a statement.

The study was a volunteer effort by faculty and students at Stanford, Cornell and other institutions, with no funding from any company or government agency.

Views expressed in News posts may not be those of Cornell University. No endorsement is implied.