Solar Panels, LED Lighting Installed At NY State Parks: More To Come
Solar panels are popping up at state parks in New York. WAMC's Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas was at Peebles Island Wednesday for what state officials heralded as a "major" clean energy announcement.
Officials say New York State Parks rushing to meet Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State Parks 2020 initiative have slashed electricity costs and greenhouse gas emissions through solar and LED lighting.
Speaking at a press conference held on the roof of the state Historic Sites’ headquarters building on Peebles Island, NYS Parks, Recreation and Historic Sites Commissioner Rose Harvey said five state parks will be energy neutral by 2019. "Behind me are 450 panels on the roof. It will supply 30 percent of the electricity used here at Peebles Island at the headquarters for the division of historic preservation. It was once an abandoned shirt factory on the National Register of Historic Places, and now it has a second life and it's really wonderful; it's symbolic. It's the epicenter of historic preservation."
She said upgrades have cut energy costs 40 percent at the park, the result of a joint effort that included state Parks, Hudson Valley Community College, the New York Power Authority, the state Legislature and NYSERDA’s New York Sun Program, of which David Sandbank is Director. He shares some energy goals: "To make our grid supplied by renewables, half of it, 50 percent supplied by renewables by 2030. That's essential. And what's really essential is 40 percent reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions below the 1990 levels by 2030. And even more long-term vision and more aggressive is total carbon emission reduction by 80 percent by 2050. Also recently announced is an aggressive energy efficiency approach to look at all sources of energy and figure out what areas we can we avoid electricity. To get to 50 percent renewables by 2030 is not just by adding clean energy, but its reducing a lot of the areas in which we're utilizing dirty energy. And that's so apparent in all the LED lights that the park is now using."
Sandbank says the initiatives are critical in fighting climate change. Since 2013, 18 state parks have installed photovoltaic systems and LED lighting in New York.