Yellow banners moved with steady intention down 11th Avenue and chants of “No more coal, no more oil, keep your carbon in the soil” could be heard for blocks over the daily roar of traffic. The city hosts plenty of marches supporting many causes, but this one was unique. As the largest march for climate change in history met on the streets of New York City, it was an invitation to change everything. Marchers advocated for indigenous people and their local environments, the science of climate change, food and water justice, and renewable resources—the People’s Climate March of 2014 showed how much the citizens of New York State believe in renewable energy.
Assembling for a cause makes an impact on the world at large, but those who care about supporting our planet are also desperate to find ways to impact their own carbon footprint. For New York residents, this means taking advantage of the natural renewable resources that the state already possesses. From campaigning for renewable energy to understanding New York’s natural bounty and purchasing Renewable Energy Credits, residents are easily able to put their money where their heart is.
New York Citizens Push For Divestment
In the years following the People’s Climate March of 2014, the state of New York has been working to give renewable energy a bigger presence in the state economy. Residents are pushing political and economic leaders to not only support green energy with their words, but also with their policies and their pocketbooks. Fracking – the process of drilling into the earth an injecting high-pressure liquid into subterranean rock to extract oil or gas –.has already been banned in the state, and Governor Cuomo’s goal to reduce greenhouse gasses by 80% before the year 2050 is inspiring citizens to take even more action.
For example, a current campaign supports mass divestment from fossil fuels—meaning that New York would pull more than $350 billion in pension funds out of investment in companies involved in fuel, fracking, and cross-country pipelines. Divestment may seem like an extreme goal, but in the single year that’s passed since the Paris Climate Agreement, funds for divestment have more than doubled worldwide.
However, New Yorkers understand that moving away from fossil fuels is only one step toward a greener planet. That’s why the active support of New York’s abundant alternative energy sources is growing.
New York’s Renewable Resources
New York has been well-endowed with natural renewable resources that actively produce clean energy within state borders. Even without the presence of geothermal energy, New York puts forth a stellar portfolio of renewable options:
According to the Department of Environmental Conservation, New York produces the most hydroelectric power in the entire eastern half of the country. From small local hydro plants dating back more than one hundred years ago, to massive facilities that take advantage of the natural power of Niagara Falls, hydroelectric power plants have provided a significant portion of New York’s electricity for generations.
The American Wind Energy Association identifies New York as 13th in the nation for wind capacity in 2016 and estimates that the state is saving 1.6 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year as a result. There are over 350,000 homes that are currently powered by wind energy in the state, showing that homeowners are already taking advantage of this renewable resource in massive numbers.
With the proliferation of residential and commercial solar panels in the state, New York’s solar power production has increased by more than 800% in the past five years. Even New York City is experiencing the “solar boom,” with the Long Island Solar Farm at Brookhaven Laboratory as one of the largest facilities on the east coast. Between net metering laws and the surprising abundance of natural sunlight, solar energy is becoming more accessible and affordable for New York citizens than ever before.
With these abundant natural renewable resources at their disposal, it’s no surprise that New York officials set their new Clean Energy Standard as one of the highest in the nation. The aim is to have 50% of the state’s generation coming from clean energy by the year 2030, backed by programs which are beginning today in 2017. The state is ready to get on board. The best news of all is that homeowners can directly support the cause.
How You Can Support Renewable Energy Production
One of the most tangible ways that New York residents can promote clean energy production is by enrolling in a green plan where Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) are purchased by your energy supplier. Here’s one example of how this works: Marble River Wind Farm, a local facility in North Country, purchases one REC of green electricity to put back into the power grid for each Megawatt-hour of energy you use. You can purchase this REC (basically worth one month’s electricity use in the average household) from your third party energy supplier. While buying this credit doesn’t necessarily mean that the green electricity is actually making it to your home, you’re still supporting renewable resource production in your area and receiving electricity in return.
This may sound complicated, but with a green energy plan from your supplier, everything is taken care of. You get the same high-quality service, a fixed rate plan, and all the stability you expect. You can be sure that your money is supporting the environmental cause. The more the demand for RECs grows, the more renewable power facilities will produce, and the less New York state will be dependent on fossil fuels. 2030 can’t get here soon enough.
Ready to get on board and start supporting New York’s renewable resources? Liberty Power is a third party supplier that believes in the power of green energy and offers electricity plans with RECs to back that up. Reach out to us today to learn more about how RECs can be your next step in bringing renewable energy to your home.
Photo Credit: JD Hancock