New York could be powered by 100% clean energy by 2050

Clare Saxon Ghauri
13 March 2013

NEW YORK: Scientists have mapped out an alternative future for New York State which shows it is possible to convert New York’s infrastructure to be entirely powered by renewables by 2050.

The theoretic study, which was put together by researchers from Stanford University, Cornell University and the University of California-Davis, outlines how clean energy can meet New York State’s power, industry and transport needs by 2050.

Under the plan, New York State’s entire end-use power would be provided by 50% wind, 38% solar, 5% geothermal and the rest wave and tidal energy.

The plan, Examining the Feasibility of Converting New York State’s All-Purpose Energy Infrastructure to One Using Wind, Water, and Sunlight, reveals that if the state made the switch to clean energy, it would reap many economic and environmental benefits, including:

  • Increase in new jobs, manufacturing and installations for New York, as all energy would be produced in-state.
  • Savings of around US$33 billion a year in related health costs, which is 3% of the state’s gross domestic product of US$1.1 trillion.
  • End-use power demand would drop by about 37%, stabilizing energy costs.
  • Emission decreases would reduce 2050 climate change costs by US$3.2 billion a year.

Researchers show that while the switch would need substantial upfront costs, the estimated savings would pay for the necessary power infrastructure upgrades.

The researchers also have plans to create similar studies for other American states. Robert Howarth, Co-author and Cornell University professor of ecology and environmental biology, said: “We must be ambitious if we want to promote energy independence and curb global warming.”

Amy Davidsen, US Executive Director, The Climate Group said: "With governments like Scotland already committing to 100% renewables, it's worth asking how feasible such a goal is for other governments around the world. While there are certainly barriers to such a scale up, thought leadership like this is one of the best methods for identifying ways to overcome those barriers."

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By Clare Saxon

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