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You Will Never Guess Which U.S. State Could Be Fossil-Fuel-Free By 2050

Environment  (tags: animals, climate-change, CO2emissions, conservation, ecosystems, environment, globalwarming, greenhousegases, habitatdestruction, healthconditions, politics, protection, pollution, research, science, Sustainabililty, trees, water, weather, wildlife, world )

- 1890 days ago -
A group of scientists explains how wind, water, and solar can completely power New York by mid-century.

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Kit B (276)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 7:53 am
All of New York City’s energy needs—and those of the entire state—could be met by renewables. (Gary Hershorn/Reuters)

Wouldn’t it be great if someone had a plan that outlined how to convert New York State’s energy infrastructure to one derived entirely from wind, water, and sunlight?

Actually, some scientists have one that’s ready to go.

A new theoretic study lays out how New York State’s entire end-use power could be provided by 50 percent wind, 38 percent solar, 5 percent geothermal and the rest wave and tidal energy. This ambitious goal could be achieved as early as 2030, with 2050 being the deadline when all conventional fossil fuel generation would be phased out completely.

Robert Howarth, co-author of the study and a professor of ecology at Cornell University, tells TakePart that he’s been working on climate change and its consequences since the 1970s. “I’m increasingly alarmed by the observed rate of warming, which is even faster than most models have predicted,” he says. “If we are to solve the problem of global warming, our current energy policies are completely wrong-headed.”

For this reason, Howarth dove headlong into clean-energy alternatives.

“Many pundits tell us that solar, wind, etc., are great conceptually, but that it will take many decades to start to make these technologies economically feasible. Mark Jacobson [a co-author of the study, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, and the director of Atmosphere/Energy Program], on the other hand, has been doing some nice work illustrating how society can transition rapidly to renewables if we integrate production and use of energy in a systems perspective.”

When Jacobson visited Cornell a couple of years ago, Howarth and several of his colleagues asked him if he thought they could apply his vision to New York State.

“New York is one of the larger economies in the world and New York City is the most energy-efficient city in the U.S.,” says Howarth. “Jacobson got excited about writing such a blueprint, and we have worked together since then to produce the paper we released earlier this week.”

Their study anticipates that if the percentage of new electric power generators that were wind, water, solar (WWS) were to start increasing today, by 2020 all new generators would be WWS generators.

“Existing conventional generators will be phased out gradually, but no later than 2050. Similarly, all new heating and cooling technologies will be WWS technologies by 2020 and existing technologies will be replaced over time, but by no later than 2050,” states the study.

Howarth explains that the diversified set of renewables used in the plan add economic and physical stability to the system. “The particular sources were chosen based on the siting characteristics and energy resources available in New York, following the general guidance that Jacobson has laid out in earlier writings,” he says.

By: Lawrence Karol | Take Part |

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Elle B (84)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 10:36 am
Thank-you for the update Kit. . .

Efforts to redirect an erroneous course are appreciated...even Henry Ford [greedy corporatist profiteer--auto race cheater and private thug army owner...] is surely wondering from the grave what on earth is taking so long to figure out what was more than obvious in the 1930's and long before that to those with any wits about them. . .

However, the genuine power source does have still have ultimate say in such matters. . .

“Why use up the forests which were centuries in the making and the mines which required ages to lay down, if we can get the equivalent of forest and mineral products in the annual growth of the hemp fields?” —Henry Ford

“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.” ― George Washington Carver

“We have become ninety-nine percent money mad. The method of living at home modestly and within our income, laying a little by systematically for the proverbial rainy day which is due to come, can almost be listed among the lost arts.” ― George Washington Carver

From Ford Motors web site. . .

"Henry also knew of Carver's work and said 'that's somebody I need to learn more about,' " said Baker.

That was because Carver, born a slave in Missouri during the Civil War, had become a world-famous botanist by the 1930s, famed for his research into the many uses of peanuts, soybeans and other plants. Over the years, Carver promoted the idea that such plants could be turned into plastics, paint, fuel and other products.

Ford was interested in the same things. Besides his legendary work creating plastic car parts derived from soybeans, Ford had long believed that ethanol (or grain alcohol) should be produced as an alternative fuel.

"All the world is waiting for a substitute for gasoline," Ford said in 1916. "The day is not far distant when, for every one of those barrels of gasoline, a barrel of alcohol must be substituted." —Henry Ford

. . .greed is toxic sludge that pollutes, mucks and drags real life energies. . .

Fiona Ogilvie (565)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 10:39 am
And once Vermont finally gets Vermont Yankee closed and signs on to HydroQuebec, that will be good news. Meanwhile New Hampshire and New Jersey forge ahead with solar.

Lois Jordan (63)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 12:05 pm
Noted. Thanks, Kit. NYC seems to be on the right track. They have quite an impressive group on the ground, in the streets and all over the various media to support renewable energy while trying to eliminate fracking. We should all have such commitment to a green future in our cities and states. It is unbelievable that my own state, AZ, hasn't absolutely "exploded" in the solar energy market. I'm sure many others are wondering why the movement is so slow in their areas, too.

Kit B (276)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 12:11 pm

Many cities and towns have worked to make changes. All too often the barrier lies in "red tape" from the EPA. Don't think for a moment that the EPA is working to help or save our environment. This is a political organization highly funded by lobby groups.

Bill K (4)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 1:41 pm
by 2050 we should have 50 states fossil fuel free, not just one, otherwise it might be too late. and i hope as part of New York's environmentally friendly goals they also plan on excluding fracking.

Theodore Shayne (56)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 1:55 pm
Imagine if the world had gone with all the ideas, technologies and devices that Tesla came up with from harnessing AC current to scalar wave energy. Our world would be a much cleaner place. I like Ford's statement about hemp even though I despise the man.

Angelika R (143)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 2:13 pm
Whhile Bill K. is correct -and we share his hopes about fracking- it is still necessary for someone to make the first step. The big apple is just the perfect one to go ahead.

“Reasonable” and “politician” are not words usually seen in the same sentence, but here’s to hoping they might be a perfect match in this case. How true! "How could any reasonable politician or business person not want to jump on board?” - true again!

Do you think that New York State can make this quick of a transition to renewable energy sources? Tell us your thoughts in the COMMENTS. Yes! I did.


Angelika R (143)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 2:16 pm
Just wish this amazing article were not in a Take Part website but in the NYT !! Someone please send it to Dr. Moniz!

Kit B (276)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 2:21 pm

I dunno Angie, I get some of my best, least political and most direct information comes from sites like Take Part and Common Dreams - to name a few. When I turn to NYT or WaPo I have to do so much work digging out facts and double checking the authors (reporters?). But...NYT did run a story about put of this a few months back and I did submit that to Care2.

A goal of 2050 and every one is happy with that? What not a goal of ten years? We made it to the moon in ten years.

Angelika R (143)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 2:33 pm
Kit, I was NOT talking down TakePart in any way, just mentioned that for wider public attention, especially from those sides who may have a say. Good to hear NYT did report this, should be repeated.

Kit B (276)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 3:00 pm

I didn't think you were saying anything negative about Take Part, and it certainly does have a modest distribution compared to NYT. I will try and find that story in NYT - it was about the water generators, the new ones that move by tides and earth rotation, while causing no harm to water life, each generator produces enough energy for 6 to 10 block in NYC depending on population and usage in the area. We do have so many alternatives, and yet we set our goals so far out that we almost doom each project to failure. If people are going to support something they need to see it happening, to feel and be a part of the change. By 2050 even my son will be too old to care. We could do much better, if we were not so beholden to the Powers That Be - the Corporations.

ewoud k (68)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 3:49 pm
Would be nice, just have to hope it isn't too late...

Won't be around to check it out, I'll pass this article on to my kids.

Thanks Kit!

Bryna Pizzo (139)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 4:13 pm
Thank you for the news! It is wonderful, but like you we could do it in ten, and the President could do this in a manner similar to the Roosevelt which would provide jobs, grow the economy,increase revenue, and in turn reduce the deficit. (Noted, shared, and tweeted)

Sandi C (98)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 5:11 pm
never would have guessed, I know I won't be around to see it.

Connie O (44)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 6:05 pm
thank you

Mitchell D (87)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 6:58 pm
Hope is a good thing to sustain, and I am hoping this will get a serious listening.
By the way Elle B., in your very succinct encapsulation of the wonders of being Henry Ford, you left out his blatant Anti-Semitism.

Jason S (50)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 7:18 pm
Good posting, thanks

JL A (281)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 8:00 pm
CA is ahead of schedule for solar targets with report last week--it is all very doable.

Bryan S (105)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 8:22 pm
Kit, this is certainly great news. Obviously it is the direction that needs to be taken as opposed to more disasters like tar sands and fracking. But disaster seems to be the most profitable commodity.

So true, Elle B., even greedy bastards used to know the value of sustaining life on Earth.

Bryan S (105)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 8:29 pm
The US should've and could've been the leader in green energy long ago with our wealth and ability.

While Germany Is Headed for 80% Renewable Energy, We're Getting Left in the Dust

"When I asked her about what we Americans could learn, she didn’t answer at first and she looked around at this office she was in, the headquarters with solar panels on the roof and she said, "This is something that is very American isn’t it? You Americans are people who say we can do it — we can do it ourselves."

She in fact was inspired by Jimmy Carter, a lot of the people who started the Energiewende in Germany, including Hans-Josef Fell who was the main author of the Renewable Energy Act, he was inspired by Jimmy Carter and the renewable energy revolution that he tried to start here in the U.S. by putting solar panels on the roof of the White House and funding solar projects throughout the country and wind projects. Fell said he looked around and saw pictures of all of that and wondered why they couldn’t have that in Germany. And now the situation is simply reversed.

We did start down that road, and when Reagan came in a decision was made to scuttle that and to go back to dependence on fossil fuels."

Past Member (0)
Monday March 18, 2013, 1:25 am
Wouldn't that be something?

Daniel Partlow (179)
Monday March 18, 2013, 6:22 am
We need to accompish this much sooner than 2050!

Care member (1)
Monday March 18, 2013, 8:01 am

Talya H (10)
Monday March 18, 2013, 8:21 am

Ingo Schreiner (8)
Monday March 18, 2013, 8:57 am

Carla van der Meer (648)
Monday March 18, 2013, 11:09 am
Thanks Kit. And kudos to NY.

Hartson Doak (39)
Monday March 18, 2013, 12:52 pm
Hawaii is no where near the size of New York. But, is well on it's way to being oil free in the next 20 years. There are free electric car charging stations popping up in the shopping centers. The big wind farms and solar farms are coming on line. A cable is being planned to interconnect all the islands. This will allow for the geothermal on the Big Island to sell their power state wide. This will then get rid of the monopoly the Hawaiian Electric now has on our power bills. Ocean thermal gradient is being used to cool the buildings in Honolulu. Home solar and water heating is being put on every new house. Those that do not have them are installing them. The world is moving away from oil as fast as it can. There is hope for the coastal cities, Like Honolulu

Susanne R (235)
Tuesday March 19, 2013, 9:09 am
As a NY State resident, it thrills me to no end to see windmills dotting the landscape as I drive along Lake Erie. I hope this ambitious plan becomes a reality --not just for NY State, but for every state!

What frightens me is that NY State sits on a good portion of the Marcellus Shale, and we all know that where there's money to be made, corporate vultures are circling...
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