Since 2009, New York has been a member
of the "Gigawatt Club" with wind power
generation capacity in excess of 1,000 MW.
(Photo: Maple Ridge Wind Farm.
Credit: Nat'l Renewable Energy Lab)
Wind is a powerful and plentiful resource that can provide energy without burning fossil fuel or emitting greenhouse gases.
Since ancient times, sailing vessels and windmills have been turning the energy of the wind into mechanical energy to push ships, pump water and grind grain. Today's advanced wind turbines convert wind energy directly into electricity, which can be moved instantaneously to where it is needed.
A single small wind turbine can generate enough clean electricity for local use. Connect several large turbines to an electric power grid and you have a wind farm -- a wind energy system generating significant amounts of pollution-free, renewable electric power to be used anywhere power lines reach.
New York's Wind Power
Wind generation today. Today in New York, wind power makes a small but real contribution to meeting electric power needs.
One of three 33 ft tall wind
turbines installed at Union
College in Schenectady.
Together they supply 40
percent of power for the
The American Wind Energy Association ranks New York twelfth in the nation for installed wind generation capacity. As of spring 2012, eighteen wind energy projects (PDF, 445 KB) are operating with a rated capacity of a little more than 1,400 MW, approximately two percent of the all the electric power available from generation facilities in New York and enough to power more than 300,000 homes.
Wind generation tomorrow. But today's wind power is only the beginning for New York, the 15th windiest state in the nation. Usable wind sites are found in most parts of the state -- according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, New York's wind resource has the potential to fill more than half of the state's current electricity needs.
As of Spring 2012, one wind power project rated at 216 MW was under construction in New York, and approximately nineteen additional projects totaling some 780 MW were pending (PDF, 21.6 KB) (reviews underway, or permits granted but construction not yet initiated). This wind energy development is critical to meeting New York's renewable energy goals.
DEC Environmental Review of Wind Power Proposals
Although wind power creates no toxic air emissions or greenhouse gases, DEC must still evaluate potential issues related to construction and operation of large wind energy projects. The review includes noise and aesthetics, as well as possible impacts on wildlife (especially birds and bats and any endangered or threatened species), forests, grasslands, wetlands and streams, and sensitive ecosystems. Impacts of wind turbine towers and rotating blades on flying birds and bats are a current focus.
For more information about DEC review of wind projects, see Review of Wind Energy Generation Projects.
More about Wind Power:
- New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Review of Wind Energy Generation Projects - DEC does not have general approval authority over siting of wind power projects, but is often an involved agency in the SEQR process, and has permit approval authority over construction of wind projects where specific resources subject to DEC jurisdiction are impacted.
- Existing and Proposed Wind Projects in NYS Available Websites - November 2011 - Environmental reports and other information for existing and proposed New York State Wind Energy Projects as of November 2011.