Freshkills Landfill to Increase the Amount of Solar Energy Produced in NYC by 50 Percent

Photo courtesy of freshkillspark.org

Photo courtesy of freshkillspark.org

The world’s largest landfill will soon become NYC’s biggest solar energy plant. In 2013, Mayor Bloomberg announced that SunEdison will install a solar power facility over 47 acres of the former Freshkills landfill on Staten Island. This is part of a larger plan to turn the site into a 2,200 acre park, to be known as Freshkills Park. The park is the largest to be developed in New York City in over 100 years, and will be almost three times the size of Central Park.

Image courtesy of freshkillspark.org

Image courtesy of freshkillspark.org

Situated on the western shore of Staten Island, Freshkills served as NYC’s principal solid waste landfill until 2001. In 2006, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation began working to develop Freshkills Park, which will integrate new native plant communities to the site and create an expansive network of paths and recreational waterways. Visitors will be able to enjoy horseback riding, mountain biking, nature trails, kayaking, and more. While some parts of the park are already open, NYC Parks is aiming to have the site fully opened in 2036.

Image courtesy of nyc.gov

Image courtesy of nyc.gov

As the city works to transform the former landfill into a park, SunEdison is expected to start construction on the solar energy facility this year. The installation is slated to open in 2016 and will consist of up to 35,000 high-efficiency solar panels, which could generate enough electricity to power 2,000 homes. SunEdison has created similar projects at other former landfill sites, but this will be its first NYC project of this kind.

The plant will pipe into ConEdison’s grid system and will increase the amount of solar energy produced in New York City by 50 per cent. In addition to bringing renewable electricity to New York City, solar power will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local pollutants by lessening the need for inefficient “peaker” plants, which only supply power during times of high demand but burn heavy oil fuel and release greenhouse gases into the air. As Mayor Bloomberg said, “it is only fitting that Freshkills, once a daily dumping ground, will become a showcase [for] urban renewal and sustainability.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s