Rise Light & Power, the company that owns and operates Ravenswood Generating Station in Long Island City, the largest in New York City, announced a plan last week to convert at least some of the plant’s operating capacity to renewable energy.
The company would tap into wind and solar energy capacity in upstate New York and bring it to Ravenswood via an underground cable. Batteries at the plant would store the energy to be used by New Yorkers in place of burning polluting fossil fuels.
Once it is fully online, the energy stored at the plant would meet 15 percent of the city’s energy needs.
The plan has to be approved by the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority, but this is still good news for the tens of thousands of people who live in the large public hosing developments on the Long Island City waterfront in the shadow of the tall smokestacks.
The residents of those projects have for decades had to deal with the health issues that arise from living in close proximity to such a massive source of air pollution. This would provide them some much-needed and deserved relief.
The news is also good for upstate residents, as Rise Light & Power is committed to investing in new solar and wind energy projects to meet its demand, helping New York State meet its ambitious carbon emission goals.
According to Rise Light & Power, this is the only project currently submitted to NYSERDA that not only focuses on a shift to clean energy, but also places an emphasis on repurposing aging energy infrastructure in densely populated areas to handle renewable sources.
If successful, this is a model that could be replicated across the five boroughs. Imagine if the city’s hulking smokestacks came down, and those behemoths of the 20th century energy infrastructure instead supplied clean sources of energy to the entire city.