Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Long Island Town Builds Unparalleled Energy Park

Energy
Long Island Town Builds Unparalleled Energy Park

Kyle Rabin

The Town of Hempstead's energy park.

Question: What do you get when you cross a majestic 100-kilowatt (kW) wind turbine with a hydrogen fueling station, a solar house, a pair of solar trackers (high-tech solar electric panels that follow the sun’s daily path across the sky), a 60-kW solar field, a solar-powered carport and a geothermal energy project?

Answer: A pioneering and unparalleled energy park that will meet the heating and cooling needs of a municipal facility on Long Island while serving as a model for other local governments across the U.S.

The groundbreaking Energy Park is located at the Town of Hempstead’s Conservation and Waterways headquarters in New York.

Settled in 1664, the Town of Hempstead—with a population of approximately 770,000 people—is the most populous township in the U.S. If it were incorporated as a city, it would be the second largest city in New York, ahead of Buffalo and behind New York City.

I live in an unincorporated village within the Town of Hempstead and I’ve eagerly followed the energy park’s evolution and progress, which was underscored by the 100-kW wind turbine that became operational in December. The first time I saw the new turbine, while driving on a nearby parkway, I was delighted beyond words and each time I’ve seen it since it still manages to bring a smile. Even better, within sight of the town’s energy park is the E.F. Barrett Power Station, a fossil fuel-fired relic from the past that has for decades damaged Long Island’s South Shore Estuary from which it withdraws water and returns it at a much higher temperature.

Fortunately, on May 23, I had the pleasure of attending an event hosted by the town to mark a few milestones achieved by the wind turbine. Town Supervisor Kate Murray announced that the wind turbine has generated more than 128,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) in its first 24 weeks. To put the 128,000 kWh into perspective, that’s enough electricity to power 14 Long Island homes for an entire year.

Standing 120 feet tall (excluding the 35-foot blades), the turbine, the Northern Power 100, helps power Long Island’s only hydrogen fueling station, providing electricity to power a water-to-hydrogen conversion process which produces hydrogen fuel. The fuel is stored on site at the fueling station and is utilized by the town’s fleet of fuel-cell vehicles and a hydrogen/compressed natural gas internal combustion engine bus.

“Powered by the winds off Point Lookout, this wind turbine provides an almost constant supply of clean, renewable energy for the town,” explains Murray who received an Environmental Quality Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in April for her leadership and vision on the Energy Park.

According to the EPA, the town “has taken several measures to reduce its energy use while saving its residents money in the process… Supervisor Murray has elevated the Town of Hempstead to a higher environmental standard, promoting sustainability throughout the community and, ultimately, setting an example for others.”

With local residents (and taxpayers) in mind, the town secured a $4.6 million U.S. Department of Energy grant to cover the cost of the wind turbine—estimated at $615,000—and finance the construction of the other components of this unique park. (The park also boasts a neat solar and wind-powered shellfish nursery that we produced a video about a few years ago.)

“The town’s energy park is a model of how local government can provide leadership with clean energy that should be followed by communities across the nation,” says Neal Lewis, executive director of the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College.

“With gridlock on energy policy in our nation’s capital, local governments are taking the lead in retrofitting old buildings, converting vehicle fleets and installing renewable energy systems,” says Lewis, who also coordinates the Long Island Clean Energy Leadership Task Force, which for seven years running has brought together local government officials with environmentalists in order to identify ways that government can lead by example in promoting clean energy. “Among the most active on Long Island are Supervisor Kate Murray and the Town of Hempstead.”

“The Town of Hempstead has been a leader in the pursuit of new, clean ways to generate the energy we use,” noted Michael D. Hervey, chief operating officer of the Long Island Power Authority, which has supported many of the town’s initiatives and provided technical and financial assistance as the town’s investment in its energy park has grown.

I was glad to see that New York City is taking note. At the May 23 event, I was introduced to a New York City Department of Sanitation energy manager who was on hand to see what ideas he might be able to apply in the Big Apple. Like the rest of us, he left inspired.

Visit EcoWatch's RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.

 

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' "Doomsday Clock" — an estimate of how close humanity is to the apocalypse — remains at 100 seconds to zero for 2021. Eva Hambach / AFP / Getty Images

By Brett Wilkins

One hundred seconds to midnight. That's how close humanity is to the apocalypse, and it's as close as the world has ever been, according to Wednesday's annual announcement from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a group that has been running its "Doomsday Clock" since the early years of the nuclear age in 1947.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The 13th North Atlantic right whale calf with their mother off Wassaw Island, Georgia on Jan. 19, 2010. @GeorgiaWild, under NOAA permit #20556

North Atlantic right whales are in serious trouble, but there is hope. A total of 14 new calves of the extremely endangered species have been spotted this winter between Florida and North Carolina.

Read More Show Less

Trending

There are new lifestyle "medicines" that are free that doctors could be prescribing for all their patients. Marko Geber / Getty Images

By Yoram Vodovotz and Michael Parkinson

The majority of Americans are stressed, sleep-deprived and overweight and suffer from largely preventable lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Being overweight or obese contributes to the 50% of adults who suffer high blood pressure, 10% with diabetes and additional 35% with pre-diabetes. And the costs are unaffordable and growing. About 90% of the nearly $4 trillion Americans spend annually for health care in the U.S. is for chronic diseases and mental health conditions. But there are new lifestyle "medicines" that are free that doctors could be prescribing for all their patients.

Read More Show Less
Candles spell out, "Fight for 1 point 5" in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany on Dec. 11, 2020, in reference to 1.5°C of Earth's warming. The event was organized by the Fridays for Future climate movement. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Taking an unconventional approach to conduct the largest-ever poll on climate change, the United Nations' Development Program and the University of Oxford surveyed 1.2 million people across 50 countries from October to December of 2020 through ads distributed in mobile gaming apps.

Read More Show Less
A monarch butterfly is perched next to an adult caterpillar on a milkweed plant, the only plant the monarch will lay eggs on and the caterpillar will eat. Cathy Keifer / Getty Images

By Tara Lohan

Fall used to be the time when millions of monarch butterflies in North America would journey upwards of 2,000 miles to warmer winter habitat.

Read More Show Less