A Clean Electricity Vision for Long Island – Supplying 100% of Long Island’s Electricity Needs with Renewable Power

“Could Long Island meet 100 percent of its electricity needs with energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies which are available today?” Prompted by the imminent expiration of Long Island Power Authority’s fossil fuel power purchase agreements in 2013, Renewable Energy Long Island and other member organizations of the Long Island Clean Energy Roundtable posed this question.

To obtain an answer, an analysis was performed by Synapse Energy Economics, a research and consulting firm that specializes in assessment of the implications of electricity industry planning, regulation, and restructuring, with funding by the Long Island Community Foundation and the Rauch Foundation.

Synapse Energy Economics’ study report, “A Long Island Clean Electricity Vision – Supplying 100% of Long Island’s Electricity Needs from Renewable Power,” concluded that by the end of this decade, LIPA could meet 100% of its residential electricity needs using clean, renewable sources, and by 2030 “all of Long Island’s electricity could be carbon emission free, and 100% from renewable sources.”

Using data from Long Island Power Authority’s (LIPA) 2010 resource plan and from the New York Independent System Operator, the study compared a future clean energy scenario with the current electricity generation and delivery model “in terms of the resource mixes, costs and carbon emissions.” The Synapse study focused on a shift to aggressive utilization of both renewable energy sources and energy efficiency for Long Island.

See full report for methodology and key assumptions, including addressing the “peak load challenge,” as well as conclusions regarding the confirmed technical feasibility for Long Island to have 100% renewable and zero-carbon electricity by 2030 using a combination of existing resources and RECs to offset “modest amount” of fossil generation. The report also contains illustrative graphs and tables, and other conclusions related to anticipated rate changes over the next 20 years, potential carbon emissions reductions, and recommendations for further analysis. Energy efficiency was found to be “by far the lowest cost electricity resource at Long Island’s disposal.” It was noted that additional economic market and policy factors and social and environmental benefits were not fully identified or quantified by this study.

The study introduction cited numerous other locations around the world that have established aggressive renewable energy goals.

See Renewable Energy Long Island website discussion of the SEE study.

See NREL RE Futures study for additional analysis of the potential for aggressive renewable energy power generation in the US.

Photo of offshore wind turbines by nuon at Flickr

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