In honor of Earth Day, the New York City Council voted unanimously to pass a legislative package by Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Council’s Environmental Protection Committee, to encourage the adoption of wind energy. Using wind energy for electricity will decrease emissions and cut pollution.
INT. 48 requires the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability to conduct regular wind energy resource assessments to identify areas within the city where wind power would be effective. These maps will be available publicly online so that property owners could more easily decide whether to install wind turbines.
INT. 50 puts forth regulations for small wind turbines (those that generate 100 kw/h of electricity or less) within the city. The bill provides regulations on how to maintain and remove turbines, design/color standards, when turbines need to be removed, the wind speeds they would need to withstand, and when they would need to be locked before a hurricane. The bill also provides information about the decibel level noise that turbines would be allowed to emit and how high they can reach above a property line.
Constantinides said, “This Earth Day, I am proud that my Council colleagues have voted to pass this legislative package that will encourage greater use of wind energy. As we work to meet our goal of reducing emissions 80% by 2050, we must replace our use of fossil fuels with renewable energy sources, including wind energy. With new technologies making wind turbines more practical to use in cities we must work to encourage their use and decrease impediments that New Yorkers may encounter when trying to install them. Thank you to Speaker Johnson and my council colleagues for their support.”
“Though we just celebrated Earth Day, we should always be cognizant of our environment and do our part to protect Mother Nature. With this environmental protection package, the Council serves as a model for other municipalities to take action to save our planet at a time when the federal government questions the rapid climate change we face. Introduction 598-A will require all city buildings to go green by 2050 and by doing this, New York City will be the leader for the rest of the country. I thank Environmental Protection Committee Chair Costa Constantinides for his leadership and all my colleagues for their support,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
“Many people do not know that it is actually possible to put wind turbines on their homes or buildings,” said legislation co-sponsor Council Member Rafael Espinal. “Most people think of wind turbines as huge structures in faraway places, but this legislation will spread awareness of the realities of wind turbines. We hope that by making wind power more accessible, we can increase options for New Yorkers and therefore increase the likelihood that more people will start making the switch to renewable energy. I am proud to co-sponsor with Environmental Chair Constantinides these smart sustainability bills, which reduce red tape and streamline the installation process of wind turbines so New Yorkers can evaluate their options and make the renewable choice if it suits their needs.”
Using wind energy for electricity in a building produces fewer emissions and air pollution than standard petroleum fuel or natural gas, which are traditionally used by power plants. Standard petroleum fuel emits greenhouse gases which are contributors to climate change and cause adverse health effects, including respiratory illnesses such as asthma and lung disease. Reducing the burden placed on our power plants by using more wind energy will improve air quality and public health outcomes, explained Constantinides.
Wind energy describes the process by which air currents generate power. Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy in the wind into mechanical power, which can be generated into electricity. A traditional wind turbine works in the opposite way that a fan works. Instead of using electricity to make wind, wind turbines use wind to make electricity.
Currently, it can be burdensome to install wind turbines on buildings because there are very few regulations and because there is no publicly available geographic information on where turbines are most appropriate. New Yorkers may not know whether wind turbines would be effective on their property or how much energy they could accumulate. Another barrier to installing wind turbines is that property owners may not know which regulations to follow.
With more information, more New Yorkers will be encouraged to install wind turbines and help generate renewable energy. Homeowners can install turbines to cut their energy costs, reduce their carbon footprint, and make a positive impact on our environment without drastically changing their lives.
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