Renewable Energy

Embracing Clean and Renewable Electricity

A clean energy system is foundational to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and NYC is taking bold action to achieve a just transition to a clean, affordable, and resilient energy system. Our commitments include:

  • 100% clean electricity for City government operations by 2025
  • 100% clean electricity by 2040
  • 500 MW energy storage citywide by 2025
  • 1,000 MW solar installed citywide by 2030
  • 100 MW solar installed on City-owned buildings by 2025

Pursuing Large-Scale Renewable Energy

NYC uses about the same amount of electricity as the entire state of Massachusetts but has only 1/35 the space! There is simply not enough room to generate all the clean energy we need while relying only on space within the crowded five boroughs. To meet our 100% clean energy goal while satisfying NYC's electricity demands, we will need to build new transmission lines to bring clean energy into NYC.

During Climate Week in September 2021, NYS Governor Kathy Hochul announced two major green energy infrastructure projects to power New York City with wind, solar and hydropower from upstate New York and Canada, and the Citycommitted to purchasing power from these projects for City operations. Resulting from the City's commitment to purchase electricity to power City government with 100% clean and renewable electricity by 2025, these infrastructure projects will create approximately 10,000 family-sustaining jobs statewide and bring $8.2 billion in economic development investments. Additionally, the projects will help reduce the City's reliance on fossil fuels, lower carbon emissions, and significantly improve air quality and public health in disadvantaged communities.

New York State map of wind, solar, and hydroelectric projects
In September 2021, the State announced its intention to pursue two new transmission lines, pictured in this map, that will increase the amount of clean energy in New York City's grid

Installing Solar and Storage

Reaching the City's carbon neutrality goal by 2050 requires a shift to 100% clean electricity. To accelerate progress toward this goal, the City has set an ambitious target of 1,000 MW of solar power citywide by 2030 – enough to power 250,000 homes. The City has made strides towards these goals through the passage of Local Laws 92 and 94, which require solar or green roofs on all new buildings; launching the ElectrifyNYC 1-4 family solar program to train community-based organizations to offer solar services; engagement with the State on regulatory matters that reduce barriers to in-City solar; and leveraging City rooftops for installations. As of fall 2021, 305 MW of solar has been installed across NYC, 12 times as much as there was in 2013. And installations are accelerating: 2021 is already a record year for solar installations in NYC, with over 50 MW installed just through October. Community solar growth is outpacing all other solar under development. There is 100 times as much community solar installed today as there was at the end of 2018.

On-site solar generation is beneficial for reducing consumption of grid energy and, especially when combined with energy storage, can help shift consumption away from peak periods. That's why the City has also committed to supporting energy storage, a technology that makes clean energy resources like wind and solar more dependable, lowering greenhouse gas emissions and improving local air quality while providing resiliency benefits. The City has set a target of 500 MW of energy storage installed by 2025 and is working hard to streamline permitting processes to facilitate the safe and rapid deployment of energy storage citywide.

N Y C solar energy deployment graph
As depicted in the graph, solar energy deployment in New York City has exponentially climbed from less than 10 MW pre-2012 to over 300 MW in less than a decade

Accelerating Geothermal Heat Pumps

To further accelerate the transition to clean energy technologies and transition away from fossil fuel-based heating, the City has committed to pursuing a district-scale geothermal demonstration project. Geothermal heat pumps, or ground-source heat pumps, rely on the constant temperature beneath the Earth's surface to provide clean and efficient heating and cooling, while using less electricity than other types of heat pumps. The City has already built building-level geothermal projects, including at the FDNY Rescue Company 2 facility in Brooklyn and at PS 62 on Staten Island. After working with the City Council to pass legislation, the City is pursuing district-scale systems that connect multiple buildings to shared infrastructure, which can realize further efficiencies and maximize environmental benefits through balanced loads and a diversity of thermal sources and sinks.

Making Municipal Investments

Leading by example, the City is committed to installing 100 megawatts of rooftop solar on City-owned buildings by 2025 and achieving a 50% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from City-owned buildings and operations by 2030 (compared to 2005 levels). The Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) has made extensive energy efficiency and clean energy investments in more than 1,500 buildings across the city, reducing as many greenhouse gas emissions as are generated by 165,000 NYC residences. With these investments, the City is outpacing the private sector in both greenhouse gas emission reductions and renewable energy installations (on a per square footage basis), all while improving local air quality and the resiliency and reliability of the City's energy infrastructure.

One kneeling worker and one standing worker installing solar panels on a rooftop
DCAS incorporates educational and workforce development opportunities into its clean energy efforts, including offering solar training for City employees whose work focuses on operations and maintenance

Energy Planning for the Future of the City

In April 2021, the City released a landmark joint study, developed over two years in partnership with NYC's major energy utilities, Con Edison and National Grid, that provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of scenarios for NYC's energy supply and demand through midcentury. The study analyzed three pathway scenarios to understand the opportunities, risks and tradeoffs for advancing programs and policies that could help the City meet its energy and climate goals. The results of the study will inform the City's Long-Term Energy Plan, which is required by legislation to be published every four years; the first iteration is targeted for release in 2023.

pathways to carbon neutral n y c report cover
Pathways to Carbon-Neutral NYC is a landmark joint study led by the Mayor's Office of Sustainability and NYC's two major energy companies, Con Edison and National Grid. The study provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of scenarios for NYC's energy supply and demand through midcentury.

Additional Resources