During Earth Week, several projects in New York to boost energy efficiency have been completed.
These projects, which consist of wind, solar and hydroelectric developments will provide clean electricity to more than 150,000 homes across the state.
But, these are just a few of the numerous projects helping New York reduce greenhouse-gas emissions 70% by 2030.
Anne Reynolds, executive director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, described what lies ahead for the state’s climate future.
“More and more, New Yorkers will be seeing solar projects and wind projects under construction,” said Reynolds. “There’s only one offshore wind project under construction now, but there’s five others that have contracts. So, New Yorkers are going to start to see or hear about offshore wind construction.”
Along with this, she added that electrifying buildings through heat pumps and electrifying transportation need to be done as well.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the transportation sector accounted for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions in 2020. Light-duty vehicles made up more than half of all emissions in 2020.
Although numerous projects are coming to fruition, there are several challenges along the way.
Along with the traffic jam of projects in the permitting process, Reynolds noted that there is new stress on the state’s transmission grid.
She said investing in the transmission grid will be essential for ensuring the state moves to cleaner energies.
“So we need to reconductor some lines to provide more capacity to connect wind and solar projects,” said Reynolds. “That’s the main thing that needs to happen.”
One of the current transmission line projects will connect the proposed 924-megawatt offshore Sunrise Wind Farm.
Upon completion in 2025, the project will provide wind-generated electricity to more than 600,000 homes.
As 2030 nears, Reynolds said she finds New York is on track to meet its climate goals. But, she said the pace at which these projects are being constructed must stay on track.
“The projects need to get built,” said Reynolds. “They need to reach construction, which means they need to solve issues about it being difficult to get solar panels because of so much construction, solve issues relating to inflation, and get all of these projects over the finish line.”
Currently, more than $29 billion in public and private investment has resulted in almost 100 solar, wind and hydroelectric projects being built throughout New York state.
Edwin is a reporter and producer in North Tonawanda, New York. He’s previously reported for the Niagara Gazette and the Ithaca Times. Edwin got an early start in radio interning for WBFO-88.7FM, NPR’s Buffalo affiliate. In 2018, he graduated from SUNY Buffalo State College with a B.A. in Journalism, and in 2022, graduated from Syracuse University with an M.S. in Communications.