How New York City Plans to End Natural Gas, Oil Use in Buildings
Mayor Bill de Blasio has set an ambitious goal for New Yorkers to meet their heating needs through renewable energy by 2040. Since buildings account for 70% of NYC's greenhouse gas emissions and more than 40 percent of its total carbon footprint, the move could greatly reduce the city's impact on climate change.
This did not come out of nowhere: there have been major pushes towards electrification and renewables in recent years, especially in California, the Boston area, and Seattle. Many of these places have banned natural gas use in new buildings, paving the way for New York City's plan.
In the face of these new regulations, NYC is turning to energy consultants such as Slattery Energy to help make the switch to renewable energy. Procurement of renewable energy can be tricky, especially for a city as large as NY.
That is the year natural gas and oil will be phased out completely. With natural gas accounting for more than 85% of heating in New York City, this transition can't happen overnight. There are already over one million buildings that still rely on natural gas.
In the meantime, it is important to note that the city will have to use some fossil fuels. Between 2026 and 2030, as older systems are shut down, a small amount of natural gas will still be needed. However, by keeping consumption steady over those eight years and making sure they source from low-emissions sources, NYC should be able to offset any largely gas emissions.
The plan has drawn some criticism, with some people arguing that the city should aim to achieve 100% renewables even sooner. However, de Blasio and his team believe that 2040 is a realistic goal, given the current state of technology and the political will to make it happen.
Not a Walk In The Park
There are still numerous hurdles to overcome if NYC's plan is going to succeed. For example, natural gas and oil heating systems will need to be replaced by systems that run on electricity. Much of the city's grid currently runs on natural gas, so this will require a major upgrade and changes in how energy suppliers offer their services.
In addition, the city will need to find new ways to heat buildings that don't rely on natural gas or oil. This could include using district heating systems, which pipe warm water or steam from a central location to buildings throughout the city.
NYC is not alone in this effort: many other cities are also making the switch to renewables. However, with its population of over 8 million, New York City is by far the largest city to make this commitment. If it succeeds, it could set a major precedent for other cities looking to reduce their carbon footprints.
The Ball Lies in City Council's Court
Now that the de Blasio administration has released its ambitious plan, it's up to the City Council to make it a reality. The council will need to approve funding for new technologies and pass legislation making the switch to renewables easier for building owners.
There is already some support for the plan on City Council, with many members eager to take action on climate change. However, there are also some naysayers who worry that the plan is too expensive for building owners. The city will need to find a balance where everyone feels they are being taken care of while also ensuring the switch to renewables.
Joining The Fight Against Climate Change
The ball may lie in City Council's court, but it will take the cooperation of building owners, energy suppliers and the city's residents to make this ambitious goal a reality.
In the meantime, energy consultants such as Slattery Energy are gearing up to help New York City make the switch from natural gas to renewables. With natural gas and other fossil fuels accounting for a major portion of emissions in New York City, this move could have a big impact on slowing down climate change.