State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

You Asked: What Are My Clean Energy Options in New York?

You Asked” is a series where Earth Institute experts tackle reader questions on science and sustainability. In honor of Climate Week NYC and the Covering Climate Now initiative, we’ll spend the next few weeks focusing on your questions about climate change. 

The following question was submitted through our Instagram page by one of our followers. The answer was provided by Sarah La Monaca and Noah Kaufman from Columbia’s Center on Global Energy Policy.

What kind of clean energy options are available to someone who lives in New York?

sarah la monaca and noah kaufman headshots
Sarah La Monaca’s research focuses on the power sector, renewables, and energy finance. Noah Kaufman is an economist who has worked on energy and climate change policy in both the public and private sectors.

One option is green tariffs, by which electricity customers in the state can choose from suppliers who offer “100 percent green” power. The sourcing of the green attributes of that power supply makes a big difference in how truly green it is. Other options include investing in energy efficiency upgrades to reduce total energy consumption, or participating in residential demand-response programs, which make the grid more flexible and better able to accommodate more variable renewable generation.

Of course, homeowners can also host a rooftop solar installation through a few different financing options. Alternatively, customers can subscribe to community solar programs. A project in Brooklyn has gotten some press for a mini-grid project with a peer-to-peer marketplace.

It’s also important to note that New York has an aggressive and binding 100 percent clean energy target. That means all New Yorkers will be sharing the costs of clean energy.

Got a question about climate change? Feeling curious about conservation? To submit a question, drop a comment below, message us on Instagram, or email us here.

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Ingrid Zabel
Ingrid Zabel
4 years ago

Another highly energy-efficient option for homeowners and developers is to heat and cool buildings with ground-source heat pumps. NYSERDA has financial programs to help. NYSERDA also has a great solar energy program for low income residents, called Solar for All.

Adam Cain
3 years ago

Signing up for a 100% renewable electricity plan is a great way to support green energy in NY without having to install solar panels on your home! Only 18% of the U.S. is getting its energy from renewables but this is going to rise rapidly in the coming years.

Roi Cahana
2 years ago

All of us should be a little bit more responsible and decrease our impact on the environment. Installing solar panels is not a viable option for all homeowners (yet) but hopefully in the near future the costs will allow all of us to do it. Meanwhile, people that live in deregulated energy states can opt to enroll in a green energy plan to help offset their impact.