New York to Develop Solar Power in Landfills, Mayor Says

New York City will create solar power plants atop capped landfills capable of generating power to supply 50,000 homes as part of a renewed effort to reduce climate-changing carbon gas emissions.

The program, announced in a speech by Mayor Michael Bloomberg today, would reduce the city’s reliance on emergency generators that burn petroleum-based fuel on hot summer days when electricity demand peaks, said Jason Post, a spokesman for the mayor.

The mayor also unveiled a plan to use $40 million of federal economic stimulus funds to create a nonprofit Energy Efficiency Corp. It will provide low-cost financing to building owners to conserve energy with more efficient lighting, heat and insulation, Post said.

“Banks are often reluctant to lend money for energy-efficiency projects because the loans are relatively small and difficult to manage,” the mayor’s office said in a memo outlining the financing proposal.

The ideas are part of Bloomberg’s PlaNYC, which has more than 100 programs, including tree plantings, rainwater recapture, rooftop gardens and reflective paint. Bloomberg began PlaNYC in 2007 with the goal of reducing carbon-gas emissions citywide 30 percent by 2030. The city cut emissions 13 percent between 2005 and 2009, the mayor said in September.

Harlem Stage

The initiatives were outlined in a speech at Harlem Stage, a performing-arts center inside a 121-year-old gatehouse guarding a tunnel that delivers water from the Croton reservoir system to the north.

The new city-owned corporation will also provide technical advice and information on energy-saving technology and other opportunities for financial support, the mayor’s office said.

One percent of buildings in the city produce 86 percent of the soot -- more than all vehicles -- by burning the dirtiest grades of heating fuel, Bloomberg said. To reduce emissions, the mayor announced new rules to phase out use of those grades. Incentives will include financing by the corporation to help building owners convert to natural gas and low-sulfur oil.

The plan to create solar plants capable of generating as much as 50 megawatts of power in the capped landfills of Staten Island and Brooklyn would seek partnerships with private companies developing renewable-energy technology.

“Installing solar power at these sites could significantly improve local air quality by reducing generation at the city’s dirtiest plants during periods of peak summer demand,” the administration’s memo stated.

The mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.

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