New York is currently exploring and supporting a wide range of innovative biogas-based power generation technologies. Biogas facilities process organic components such as industrial food wastes and manure in an anaerobic digestive process and use the resulting gas (a mixture of primarily methane and CO₂) as a fuel source to create electric power. In addition to creating electricity, anaerobic digestion harnesses greenhouse gases that would otherwise be pollutants.
Biomass is wood and other plant-derived organic materials that can be used to generate electricity and heat. With proper management practices, this renewable resource can be sustainably utilized. New York has a plentiful supply of biomass, and ongoing work continues to support biomass heat markets in the State using high-efficiency, low-emission biomass heating technologies.
Fuel cells are playing an ever-increasing role in New York’s on-site power generation. Fuel cells can be installed in or at buildings to produce electricity on-site, thereby reducing the amount of electricity needed to be purchased from the utility grid, which helps to relieve strain on the grid. They are capable of running continuously with minimal downtime for maintenance, making them great candidates for on-site generation.
Hydroelectric power is the electrical power produced by harnessing the force of falling or flowing water. Over 300 hydropower stations exist in New York, ranging from small plants to the largest hydropower station east of the Rocky Mountains: the Robert Moses Niagara plant.
Solar energy is the use of sunlight to create electricity or heat hot water. Solar energy is abundant, non-polluting, and does not emit the greenhouse gases responsible for global warming. Even in New York State, where sunlight is variable, solar energy makes a significant contribution to meeting electricity demand. To create electricity, individual photovoltaic cells made from semiconductor materials connect together to form solar panels. These panels, in turn, combine and connect to form solar arrays. Under Governor Cuomo, solar energy in New York State has increased almost 800% from 2012 to 2017.
Wind power is extracted from air flow using wind turbines or sails to produce mechanical or electrical power. It can generate clean electricity, does not emit greenhouse gasses, and comes from a renewable source. New York State has 21 large wind projects totaling 1,754 megawatts that provide electricity to the grid and continues to explore opportunities for wind onshore and off. The State is also home to more than 200 small wind projects that serve individual homes, farms, and businesses.
Offshore wind turbines are similar to land-based wind turbines, but they are typically larger and generate more power. Energy from these turbines could become a major source of affordable, renewable power for New York State, especially in the New York City metropolitan area and Long Island. In addition, the offshore wind industry will bring substantial investment and jobs to New York’s waterfront and the ports that support the construction and maintenance of offshore wind farms.