A GREEN NYC
New Green Infrastructure Projects Bring Renewables to NYC
After President Biden took office, he developed a national goal for carbon-neutral electricity on America's grids through the Build Back Better plan. Biden hopes to distribute hundreds of billions of dollars in funding and tax revenue to support green infrastructure development. Biden's climate plan for America includes a target of 50-52% greenhouse gas reduction by 2030 (compared to 2005 levels), carbon-neutral electricity on America's grids by 2035, and net zero emissions by 2050.
NYC also independently set a goal to reach net-zero carbon by 2050. Until then, construction professionals will develop clean energy-compatible infrastructure, reducing residents’ reliance on fossil fuels. Before evaluating the benefits of NYC's green projects, we must assess the Clean Path NY plan independently.
What Is Clean Path NY?
The Clean Path NY plan is an $11 billion funding program for sustainable infrastructure projects. After builders conduct the structural alterations, New York City will gain access to 7.5 million megawatt-hours (MWh) of renewable energy annually. The energy grid in the city currently runs on a mix mostly of fairly even parts fossil fuels, nuclear energy, and renewables. Clean Path NY focuses funding on building up renewable energy and related infrastructure.
The project will limit the effects of the enhanced greenhouse effect. It also supports sustainable employment opportunities, as well as local equitable job growth for the city. Planners expect the Clean Path NY plan to create nearly around 8,300 full and part-time positions. Those are good-paying jobs in the booming clean energy sector (please see: Renewable Energy Jobs are UP, and Cost is DOWN).
Clean Path NY additionally addresses environmental injustice. It provides all New Yorkers with access to emission-free energy regardless of their financial status or race. Clean Path will save NY ratepayers millions in energy costs over the next 2 1/2 decades. The plan offers various benefits to residents, boosting the efficiency and future success of the project.
When combustion occurs at conventional power plants, fossil fuel sources release greenhouse gas emissions. As pollutants invade the atmosphere, they decrease the ability of the planet to regulate surface temperatures. Earth relies on a consistent atmospheric composition, producing life-sustaining environmental conditions.
The planet naturally absorbs sunlight and converts it into heat. It uses the output to warm its surface, supporting resource development and biodiversity. Then, the planet collects extra energy and sends it to space, maintaining ideal conditions.
Greenhouse gases interfere with the process because of their high light-to-heat exchange rate. They also trap excess energy in the atmosphere, filtering it back through the heat production process. Over time, emissions increase Earth’s temperature and cause various adverse environmental effects (see: 5 categories of change in climate).
Renewable energy and related green infrastructure avoid the problem of greenhouse gas emissions and atmospheric pollution caused by fossil fuel combustion. Clean Path NY thus is a project that represents a climate solution, as well as a local green sustainable energy program. Clean Path aims to help NY reach its ambitious climate objectives.
New York City’s green infrastructure plan will develop more solar farms, improving atmospheric and surface-level conservation. Professionals will use photovoltaic (PV) panels to produce thousands of megawatts of emission-free energy. They can also utilize polycrystalline silicon versions, relying on fewer non-sustainable elements.
Polycrystalline panels use less silicon compared to other options on the market. They are also more efficient and minimize energy loss. Increasing society’s access to clean power and reducing plastic use can improve environmental conditions.
When panels reach their expiration dates, waste management professionals break them down, salvage recyclable components, and send the remaining parts to landfills. Reducing the amount of silicon and plastics in landfills can reduce microplastic pollution and adverse health effects.
While the Clean Path NY plan supports the environment, it also benefits society.
Emission-free energy sources can protect NYC residents’ health. The city has a high concentration of ground-level air pollution. When individuals inhale the emissions, their risk of lung cancer, asthma, and other respiratory illnesses increases.
Solar and wind power reduce localized emissions, improving community wellness. The project also creates sustainable, long-lasting employment opportunities. NYC can use the project to increase job security following the pandemic-related recession.
Increasing clean energy production also reduces utility costs.
Currently, solar is the most affordable energy source on the market, according to the International Energy Agency. More individuals can access reliable electricity with lower pricing.
The Clean Path plan also helps Americans achieve their carbon-neutrality goal. President Biden’s Build Back Better plan works to minimize atmospheric degradation. Alongside it, New York City can significantly reduce emissions with its own project, and help to shrink the nation’s carbon footprint.
Increasing the City’s Compatibility With Renewables
New York is also passing an all-electric building bill, enhancing its compatibility with clean energy production, distribution, and use. The city council is working on banning gas hookups in new buildings. Construction professionals may receive a fine for placing non-electric appliances and systems in residential and commercial structures.
Builders can also increase a property’s compatibility with renewable energy by designing it for on-site production. Flat roofs are one of the best designs to support solar panels. Installation professionals can attach the panels to flexible mounts.
Mounts help individuals elevate and angle their solar panels towards the sun. Because the sun moves throughout the day and year, flexible mounts allow owners to re-angle their panels towards the light. It is also easy for professionals to clean solar devices on flat roofs because they can safely access them.
The Future of National Energy Sourcing
Joe Biden plans on sourcing 100% of the electric grid’s energy from renewable resources. Creating an emission-less grid requires a complete restructuring of America’s infrastructure. NYC can pave the path for other regions by proving the feasibility of mass clean energy production and distribution.
As the city expands its green infrastructure development, it increases the demand for energy-efficient technology. When environmental engineers and scientists bring forth technological advancements, they improve America’s ability to adopt renewable systems. Over time, all major cities may take steps towards reducing their fossil fuel reliance.
Article by Jane Marsh
Jane works as an environmental and energy writer. She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of
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