Rikers Island could become a renewable energy and storage hub

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email
Image: Formulanone/Flickr.

Rikers Island, the infamous island home to New York City’s main prison complex, is to be used to explore the development of renewable energy generation and battery energy storage.

The Renewable Rikers Act, a series of bills transferring ownership of a portion of the island from the Department of Corrections (DOC) to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services was passed into law by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on 25 February. Blasio said the Act will create “a new reality” on the island, which could be used to “create a lot of renewable energy” for the city. All of the island would be transferred to the DCAS by 2027, by which point the prison complex is scheduled to close.

The two bills, Intro. 1592 and Intro. 1593, would respectively initiate the handover of control to the DCAS on 1 July and give a green light to a feasibility study for potential renewable energy projects on the island.  Intro 1592 also establishes a Rikers Island Advisory Committee, made up of people who were incarcerated on Rikers Island, immediate family of inmates, environmental justice advocates, the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability (MOS), the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Sanitation and the Department of Parks and Recreation. Blasio said the group would “do a lot to determine resilient, sustainable use for Rikers Island going forward.”

Intro 1593 requires the MOS to carry out a study that would assess whether different types of renewable energy sources, combined with battery storage, are feasible on Rikers Island. The study would examine economic costs, value, rate of return and sustainability. The City is already required to complete a long-term energy plan to assess the feasibility of replacing in-city gas-fired power plants with renewable energy sources, and the new law would include the feasibility study as part of the wider initiative, which is due on 30 June 2022.

“Our biggest challenge going forward is going to be fighting climate change and protecting the city, protecting our people, protecting the earth,” Blasio said. “Rikers Island could be an important part of that as a place we could potentially create a lot of renewable energy for this city.”

New York State’s governor Andrew Cuomo laid out a ‘green economy recovery’ at the start of 2021, which is expected to result in 12.4GW of new renewables capacity and directly create over 50,000 jobs. This year, the state will contract for 23 large-scale solar farms and one hydroelectric facility with a combined capacity of more than 2.2GW.

Read Next

March 29, 2021
Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker signed a state climate bill on Friday that creates benchmarks for the adoption of solar power technologies.
March 26, 2021
UK energy supplier Octopus Energy is to take on Octopus Renewable’s assets as part of an internal transaction that will see it become on of Europe’s largest renewable energy generators.
March 22, 2021
Construction has started on what claims to be Australia’s largest hybrid solar and battery energy storage facility.
March 19, 2021
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has announced key decisions this week providing clarity and to solar developers within the US, and signalling state support further down the line.
March 19, 2021
A renewables procurement round launched today (19 March) by the government of South Africa will aim to source 2.6GW of clean energy capacity, of which 1GW will be solar PV and 1.6GW wind.
March 19, 2021
A round-up of the latest news from the US solar market, including updates from Invenergy, SunPower and the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
April 13, 2021
Solar Media Events
April 20, 2021
Upcoming Webinars
April 28, 2021
4:00 - 4:30 PM CET