In 2020, New York City Mayor, Bill De Blasio, addressed his goal of tackling climate change by initiating a new green energy plan. Since 2014, New York City’s solar energy has increased almost six times over. The next major obstacle to tackle is the private sector, which consists largely of office buildings. This sector will require working with state and federal energy regulators to maximize the use of renewable energy. The mayor’s renewable energy proposal, “Save our Future,” has lined up specific goals for NYC to execute.

The Goals

  • Invest in Wind: Accelerate the growth of offshore wind by equipping the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal in Sunset Park as a new hub for turbines.
  • Double Solar Power: A new program will cover the upfront costs of solar power, allowing homeowners to pay for them through the savings on their energy bills over time.
  • Bring Hydro Energy to the City: More zero-emission hydropower to NYC by 2025.
  • End Unnecessary use of Single-Use Plastic Bottles: NYC will end the purchase of unnecessary single-use plastic bottles and restrict the sale of single-use plastic bottles (21 fluid ounces or less) on City property by 2021.
  • End the Use of Fossil Fuels, including Natural Gas: By 2040, NYC will stop using natural gas and other fossil fuels in large building systems, starting in government buildings.
  • Make All City Vehicles Electric: All on-road vehicles in the fleet will be plug-in electric by 2040.
  • Stop New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure: The NYC government will halt any new infrastructure, such as power plant expansions, pipelines, or terminals that supply fossil fuels.

 Pollution in the City

The majority of GHG Emissions in New York City come from stationary energy. Stationary energy can consist of office buildings, apartments, and other stationary sources. According to the office of the mayor, buildings in the City emit nearly 70% of their greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide emissions for the typical New York City resident is somewhere around six tons per person a year. The majority of this can be attributed to; electricity and/or natural gas for lighting and heating, air conditioning, and appliances.

Currently, the grid for renewable energy in New York City is relatively small, only at about three percent, but this is projected to increase rapidly as the City’s green energy plan comes into effect. To achieve NYC’s greenhouse gas reduction goals, the NYC electric grid must become 70 to 80 percent renewable. The City is planning to rely heavily on renewables located in the northern and western parts of New York State, Canadian hydropower, or offshore wind expected to come online in the next 10 years.

The Plan for the City’s Residents 

The overall plan for the switch to renewable energy, especially for residents who pay their own utility bills, is simple. The City will incentivize residents and office buildings to invest their money into renewable energy. As demand increases, the cost of renewable energy will decrease, making it more affordable for everyone.

The City has implemented the following guidelines to assist with the switch:

  • There will be no contract and no switch fee
  • No need for any special equipment or meter
  • One can choose their own supplier for solar or wind energy
  • They will receive the same billing as before

What Does This Mean for NYC’s Future?

New York City’s new green energy plan could result in a dramatic decrease in CO2 emissions. If one current NYC resident made the switch to 100% wind (when available), C02 emissions would decrease by 2 tons per year. If New York City can effectively execute this plan and achieve its goal, this plan could significantly impact the current climate.


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