New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will soon decide whether to approve hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in the state. To date, no alternative to expanded gas drilling has been proposed.
But a new study finds that it is technically and economically feasible to convert New York's all-purpose energy infrastructure to one powered by wind, water and sunlight (WWS). The plan, scheduled for publication in the journal Energy Policy, shows the way to a sustainable, inexpensive and reliable energy supply that creates local jobs and saves the state billions of dollars in pollution-related costs.
Mark Z. Jacobson, a senior fellow with the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and the Precourt Institute for Energy, co-authored the study with scientists from Cornell University and the University of California-Davis.
"Converting to wind, water and sunlight is feasible, will stabilize costs of energy and will produce jobs while reducing health and climate damage," said Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering.
The study is the first to develop a plan to fulfill all of a state's transportation, electric power, industry, and heating and cooling energy needs with renewable energy, and to calculate the number of new devices and jobs created, amount of land and ocean areas required, and policies needed for such an infrastructure change. It also provides new calculations of air pollution mortality and morbidity impacts and costs based on multiple years of air quality data.
The study concludes that while a WWS conversion may result in initial capital cost increases, such as the cost of building renewable energy power plants, these costs would be more than made up for over time by the elimination of fuel costs. The overall switch would reduce New York's end-use power demand by about 37 percent and stabilize energy prices, since fuel costs would be zero, according to the study. It would also create a net gain in
|Contact: Mark Z. Jacobson, Stanford|