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NY moves toward adopting wind, other green energy

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 7, 2013 at 4:34 pm •  Published: April 7, 2013

"Exclusive of hydropower, the state has developed more renewable energy than any other state in the Northeast," said authority spokeswoman Kate Muller. "Including hydropower, New York's renewable energy capacity is comparable to the entire renewable energy capacity of the other eight states in the Northeast."

New York has made a lot of progress in harnessing wind power, jumping from 48 megawatts of wind capacity in 2004 to more than 1,600 megawatts now, including large-scale development on the windy Tug Hill Plateau east of Lake Ontario.

The university researchers say half of the state's renewable power in 2030 could come from wind, mostly from 12,700 off-shore turbines. But wind power demonstrates some of the challenges of swapping out fossil fuels for green energy.

Industry watchers say wind development slowed down when the economy soured and natural gas prices dropped. There's also uncertainty over the future of a federal tax credit for wind installations.

Offshore wind farms can be particularly costly and controversial. The New York Power Authority in 2011 nixed a plan to put up to 150 turbines offshore between Buffalo and Chautauqua County, citing costs. The authority is now working with downstate power providers to explore the feasibility of wind turbines off the shore of Long Island.

Clean energy advocates point out the switchover to renewables often has less to do with available technology and more to do with market forces and political choices.

"It depends on the political will we can muster and our ability to invest in these resources," said Katherine Kennedy, of Natural Resources Defense Council.

Strauss said an important step would be for the state to extend its renewable program beyond 2015. The state will consider the program's future as part of a review this year.