Empire State Building switches to wind energy

» By | Published 11 Jan 2011

The US wind power sector received two huge endorsements last week involving the first proposed offshore wind farm in the country and the nation’s favourite building.

Cape Wind, a 130 turbine project that was first proposed a decade ago, received its final permit from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday, allowing it to begin work on the 468 MW wind farm in Nantucket Sound, Massachusetts.

In a press release, Cape Wind President Jim Gordon said the permit represents 10 years of work for the company and 17 federal and state agencies.

“American drive, competitiveness and ingenuity is entering the race with Europe and Asia for leadership in this burgeoning new global industry,” Gordon said.

The Cape Wind project is expected to provide most of the electricity used on Cape Cod and the Islands and may cost at least $1 billion (€773 million) to build. Construction is expected to begin later this year. The company has already signed an agreement to sell half of the power generated by the project to the National Grid.

On Thursday, the company that owns the Empire State Building said wind power has allowed the iconic tower to become New York city’s largest commercial renewable energy purchaser.

Malkin Holdings said it was purchasing 100% wind power from Green Mountain Energy Company, a leading retail provider of cleaner energy and carbon offset solutions.

“It was a natural fit for us to combine 100% clean energy with our nearly completed, ground breaking energy efficiency retrofit work,” Anthony E. Malkin, president of Malkin Holdings, said in a press release.

“Our program of innovation at the Empire State Building shows simple, replicable, non-proprietary steps for other landlords to follow to be more energy efficient, cleaner and greener.”

The release added that the renewable energy used by the Empire State Building will be purchased in the form of wind Renewable Energy Certificates from NRG Energy, Green Mountain’s parent company. Malkin’s two-year contract with Green Mountain to purchase nearly 55 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy annually is expected to avoid nearly 45 million kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions each year.

While the US is working towards its first offshore wind farm, nine European countries have offshore wind capacity installed, making a total of 2,396 MW as of 30 June 2010. EWEA will launch its 2010 offshore wind statistics next week.

Categories: Climate change