Could Long Island be 100 percent renewable?

Communities across the country are looking to have their energy production at least partially generated by renewables, but could a community be supported entirely by clean energy resources? Long Island seems to think so.

We've heard a lot recently about the push to increase renewable energy production in the United States. Last month, President Obama made his landmark climate change speech to Georgetown University in which he laid out plans to double the amount of energy produced by renewable energy sources come 2020, while states throughout country have offered various incentives to spur clean energy growth within their communities. However, the Long Island Power Authority recently published a report that believes Long Island could generate 100 percent of its power from renewable energy sources by 2030, giving hope to communities throughout the country that energy production could be entirely green in the not so distant future.

Long Island's potential for an entirely green community
The report, entitled "Long Island's Clean Electricity Vision," states that Long Island could technically meet all of its residents power needs by 2020, with the entire 
electric supply being renewable by 2030. The report comes at a time in which Long Island's power supply future is uncertain but exciting. Long Island Power Authority's (LIPA) power purchase agreements with fossil fuel power plants are set to expire in 2013, meaning that the community could see a dramatic shift from where it receives its power.

The study explains that the costs of completing the convergence would be minimal and could likely be off set by the long term savings that would be entailed in the switch. The benefits of the switch would also go beyond just cost, as the community would be able to dramatically limit its carbon emissions, and preserve the unique ecosystem that its residents have come to love.

There are already some functioning renewable energy projects in operation on Long Island. Over a quarter of the island's energy production comes from off shore wind farms or purchased from elsewhere in the state, while Long Island solar photovoltaic (PV) energy projects cover about 6 percent of energy needs.

Residents and small businesses making meaningful contributions
Part of the convergence to an entirely clean energy Long Island is contingent on the community's power provider- the Long Island Power Authority. However, there are still ways that residents can help make the transition to a greener Long Island future.

A recent piece of legislation is making it easier for people to install home solar projects through power purchase and lease agreements with LIPA. In each situation a Long Islander can enter an agreement with LIPA in which a solar system is installed on the homeowner's property and receive discounted power and installation rebates as a result.

With renewable energy becoming a larger priority for everyone from utilities, to law makers, to Long Island residents, realizing a one hundred percent clean energy future for this New York community could fast become a reality. This ambitious, though realistic goal, would make for a more cost efficient and environmentally friendly Long Island, preserving the natural beauty that residents have grown to know and embrace.



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