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Utility to Save $1 Billion with Clean Energy, Efficiency

solar panelsConsolidated Edison, the utility that provides New York City’s electricity, faces higher demand for power than its existing infrastructure can supply.

But instead of adding a substation, which would cost $1.2 billion or more, Con Ed will deploy a mix of distributed solar, fuel cells and efficiency measures that will cost about $200 million — less than one-fifth the price of a substation, reports Inside Climate News.

The Brooklyn-Queens Demand Management project aims to relieve demand from the Brooklyn-Queens part of the grid, which Con Ed calculates will be overloaded by 69 megawatts in 2018. The plan involves supplying 52 MW by summer 2018 through efficiency and new, mostly renewable energy sources: 41 MW would come from efficiency and conservation efforts as well as new distributed power sources, including fuel cells and neighborhood-scale solar. The remaining 11 MW would be utility-scale projects.

The remaining 17 MW needed to meet the 69 MW demand increase would come from utility-scale projects.

“This is something that can be replicated in every location of the country,” Richard Kauffman, the New York state chairman of energy and finance, told Inside Climate News. “It’s not only an evolution of processes, thinking and culture, it’s also a gradual change in business models, evolving away from ‘programs’ to these activities being integral to the business itself.”

A new white paper seems to prove Kauffman’s point.

Wind, solar and other renewable energy sources make up just about 10 percent of the nation’s electricity supply, but these non-polluting sources could supply 100 percent, according to Environment New York.

The environmental advocacy organization’s white paper, We Have the Power: 100 Percent Renewable Energy for a Clean, Thriving America, cites the rapidly falling costs of both wind and solar.

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the US has the technical potential to meet its current electricity needs more than 100 times over with solar energy and more than 10 times over with wind energy, the white paper says.

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