This U.S. Town Plans to Disconnect From the Grid and Go 100 Percent Renewables

Written by Cole Mellino and reposted with permission from EcoWatch

Nassau, New York, a town of 5,000 people just outside of Albany, New York, plans to disconnect from the electrical grid. Last week, the town board voted to get 100 percent of its power from renewables by 2020. The town is making the move both as a way to “increase its reliance on renewable sources of energy and to gain some energy independence,” Politico New York  reported.

Nassau, New York plans to use a combination of rooftop and ground-mounted solar, wind turbines and methane-capture at landfill to generate its electricity. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Nassau, New York plans to use a combination of rooftop and ground-mounted solar, wind turbines and methane-capture at landfill to generate its electricity. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

“If all goes as planned, within the next four years, all six of the town buildings will be disconnected from the grid,” said Nassau Supervisor Dave Fleming. The rest of the town is developing a plan to get all of its power from renewable sources in the next four years.

“It’s not the be-all to end-all for what we should be doing as a state and a nation, but it’s a good first step,” he said. “From a practical perspective, it’s possible,” he added. “We have a lot of ‘people resources’ in our community.”

The town plans to use a combination of rooftop and ground-mounted solar, wind turbines and methane-capture from the landfill to generate its energy.

Though the tiny town’s transition to renewables may not have the impact of, say, New York City going fossil-fuel-free (Mayor Bill de Blasio has pledged for municipal operations to run on 100 percent renewable energy before 2050), it’s just one of many cities and towns around the world making the transition.

New York State even has a program to help municipalities make that transition. Spokesman Jon Sorensen told Politico:

“The state Department of Public Services wants more towns to follow Nassau’s lead. Through its Reforming Energy Vision (REV) initiative, the Cuomo administration is actively working to help municipalities—especially towns and schools—move toward getting a significant portion of their power from renewable resources. REV is designed to make the energy grid more efficient and increase its reliance on renewables, and it is intended to give consumers more choices than they have now. This is exactly the kind of thing REV is hoping to encourage. Smaller, cleaner power systems are less costly and cleaner alternatives to the bigger power stations that have made up the power grid.”

And it’s not just New York. More than 350 U.S. state and local elected officials from nearly every state signed a letter during the Paris climate conference calling for 50 percent clean energy by 2030 and 100 percent clean energy by 2050.

Today, San Diego, California’s city council is voting on a proposed plan to get 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2035. It’s expected to pass. Vancouver, Las Vegas and other major cities around the world want to go 100 percent renewable, too. Hawaii pledged to go 100 percent renewable by 2045—the most ambitious standard set by a U.S. state thus far. Several other islands, including Aruba, Belize, St. Lucia, Grenada, the British Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, and San Andres and Providencia have pledged to go 100 percent renewable, as well, through the Ten Island Challenge, created by Richard Branson’s climate group the Carbon War Room.

Several countries around the world have hit impressive benchmarks for renewables in just a few short years. And many places have already made the transition to fossil-fuel-free electricity. Samso in Denmark became the world’s first island to go all in on renewables several years ago. Most recently, Uruguay, three U.S. citiesBurlington, Vermont; Aspen, Colorado; and Greensburg, Kansas—along with Kodiak Island, Alaska, have all made the transition.

Greenpeace and researchers at Stanford and UC Berkeley have laid out plans for every state in the U.S. to adopt 100 percent renewables and a Greenpeace report published in September posits the world can achieve 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. Mark Jacobson, one of the researchers from Stanford, said the barriers to 100 percent clean energy are social and political, not technical or economic.

The International Energy Agency released a report in October that found a quarter of the world will be powered by renewables by 2020. And a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency found that the transition to a sustainable energy future by 2030 is “technically feasible and economically viable.”

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

47 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus1 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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David F.
David F1 years ago

Marianne: Germany has invested about 250 billion in solar energy, forcing the cost per KW hour to 300% higher than the same here in the US. The cost of Solar panels have recently dropped making them more practical for day time use. The big issue in Germany and elsewhere, is the cost and maintenance of storage batteries which they have very little. Much of their (renewable green) energy comes from burning green forest, like Burlington Vermont, a very dirty energy source. Their total use of wind and solar combined is about 12%, about the same as the USA. That's a tough sell for a 300% increase in electricity and additional taxes. Do not confuse capacity vs consumption with production vs consumption charts. Wind power is usually less than 25% capacity, solar much less.

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David F.
David F1 years ago

How does a town board vote on where a homeowner or business gets it's electricity?
It helps when New York has chased all the manufacturing foundries off to China.

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Chevalier Guy
Guy C1 years ago

Excellent decision, intelligent and far-sighted.

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Sherry Kohn
Sherry Kohn1 years ago

Many thanks to you !

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Marie W.
Marie W1 years ago

Will and effort..

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Kyle Ness
Kyle Ness1 years ago

Wind farms are expensive to build, are not all that cheap to maintain either. all require maintenance and regular oil changes in the gearboxes which is synthetic. They also require many dozens of tons of concrete, steel. The blades are all made of fiberglass, resin.

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Manuela C.
Manuela C1 years ago

Amazing!

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Kamia T.
Kamia T1 years ago

Such a smart move. The sooner our entire country doesn't give a hoot or a holler about oil or gas, the better!

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Marianne C.
Marianne C1 years ago

@ Freddy R:

No big surprise, but I think you read that wrong.

"Germany has long been a pioneer in the field of renewable energy, generating a record 78 percent of its power consumption from renewables in July of this year. In fact, Germany is one of the very few countries in the world that is actually struggling with too much renewable energy. The latest testimony to this fact is the new issue of decommissioning its old wind farms."

It's only aging and unneeded wind farms that are being decommissioned. Germany has also permanently closed its final nuclear power plant.

The rest of the actual story can be found at:

http://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Wind-Power/Germany-Now-Faced-With-Thousands-Of-Aging-Wind-Farms.html


More at:

http://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Renewable-Energy/Germany-Struggles-With-Too-Much-Renewable-Energy.html

"In fact, the contribution of nuclear power in Germany’s electricity generation has now fallen to just 16 percent and renewables are now the preferred source of electricity generation in the country."

It's the old NUCLEAR plants that were contributing only 16% of all Germany's energy, NOT the renewable. The now have so much wind-driven power, they are getting rid of some of the aging plants that are getting expensive to maintain. They are NOT backing away from renewables.

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