New York City: Wind Energy Powerhouse?

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New York City

New York City is famous for many things, but wind power generation is not one of them—yet. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke yesterday at the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas about his renewable energy policy proposal for the city.

Bloomberg expressed interest in off-shore wind farms, small-scale wind installations, and and tidal power systems, noting that some estimates predict that wind energy could supply 10 percent of the city’s energy needs within 10 years.

Of course, there are barriers to Bloomberg’s proposal. Many people complain about the unattractiveness of wind turbines, and these complaints certainly can’t be ignored in such a densely populated city. And at least one study claims that urban rooftop windmills are actually net carbon emitters.

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But there are ways to get around these problems. Off-shore wind projects could allay complaints about the ugliness of turbines, and vertical-axis turbines—which were not included in the rooftop wind power study—could be integrated into skyscrapers’ architecture for maximum effectiveness.

Bloomberg also discussed the need for an upgraded power grid and better transmission lines—both key elements for the transition to alternative energy. The mayor even had lunch with T. Boone Pickens recently to discuss wind power proposals.

Only time will tell if Bloomberg’s ideas pan out. But if they do, the East Coast may finally start catching up to the rapid growth of alternative energy in the rest of the country.

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