A major renewable energy milestone within Central Hudson Gas & Electric’s service area was reached in January with more than 10,000 interconnected solar energy sources now online. There are now 10,214 solar and paired energy storage systems within the service area with an installed capacity of 162 megawatts (MW). This level of capacity has the potential to supply the average electricity use of up to 25,000 homes or 3 to 4 percent of the region’s electric consumption, and reduce carbon emissions by 40,000 tons.
“Central Hudson’s service area is home to among the highest levels of solar development and interconnected renewable resources in New York State on a per capita basis,” said Charles A. Freni, President and CEO of Central Hudson. “With many more proposed projects on the way, we must continue to invest in our electrical system to expand the interconnection capacity in order to support this demand and further reduce our carbon footprint.”
The total capacity of interconnected renewable energy sources within Central Hudson’s service area could triple in the coming years if currently proposed projects are completed. An additional 201 MW of solar capacity is proposed for Central Hudson’s distribution grid as well as an additional 230 MW from larger scale projects on the transmission system.
Central Hudson’s virtual Solar + Summit, held on March 4, attracted more than 100 attendees and included presentations from Central Hudson, New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA), Mitsubishi and the City University of New York on a wide variety of renewable and clean energy topics including the latest in solar energy, electric vehicle programs for businesses and developers and developments in battery storage technology.
Emission reduction goals
New York State has adopted climate goals that are among the most ambitious in the nation. Energy efficiency programs and solar integration by Central Hudson are taking a leading role in reducing emissions in support of these climate goals within the Mid-Hudson Valley. As an example, New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) sets an 85% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions target by 2050.
“Achieving these targets requires the combined efforts of residents, businesses and organizations alike throughout the state,” said Freni. “Actions we can all take include the adoption of new, clean technologies and managing energy use in all we do, from driving to heating our homes to how we use electricity.”
Electricity production in New York is among the cleanest in the country, producing 17% of total emissions, while emissions from transportation, including automobiles and trucks, contributes 33%, and heating buildings and commercial processes emits 37%.
Emissions reduction programs
Based on the level of utility-supplied energy used by Central Hudson’s customers, the Mid-Hudson Valley’s share of emissions reductions is 2.3% of the statewide total. Freni explained that Central Hudson’s energy efficiency programs, customer conversions from oil and propane to natural gas and solar interconnections alone are projected to provide 40% of the CLCPA targets for the region through 2025.
Central Hudson offers a suite of energy efficiency programs for residents and businesses, including incentives and rebates for high efficiency heat pumps, commercial refrigeration, residential and commercial lighting, water heaters, natural gas heating systems and more.
Meeting New York State goals and targets
“Each of us has a role to play in reaching these important goals and participating in these programs will help us take significant steps towards the emissions reduction targets for our region,” said Freni. “For example, driving a plug-in electric vehicle and adopting high efficiency heating and cooling systems, such as cold climate heat pumps and heat pump water heaters, can substantially lower energy use and emissions. Also, conservation efforts such as car-pooling and combining trips, insulating and weatherizing homes, adjusting thermostats, using less hot water and converting to LED lighting lowers emissions and saves money in the long run.” Freni explained that efficiency measures taken by businesses, schools and buildings are also an important source of energy savings. “There are many options our customers can take to lower their carbon footprint,” he said.
“As we enact programs and initiatives to reduce emissions across New York, we must be mindful of the overall cost to residents and focus our efforts on measures that provide the best value,” said Freni. “We must also select the best combinations of technologies that provide consistent and reliable electric service under all conditions. In this way, we can achieve these important goals at a more affordable price while providing the service our customers expect and deserve.”
For more information on ways to save energy, visit www.CentralHudson.com/my-energy/save-energy-money. Resources are also available through the U.S. Dept. of Energy at www.energy.gov/energysaver/energy-saver, and by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) at www.nyserda.ny.gov. To read Central Hudson’s report, “Powering the Path to a Cleaner Future,” go to www.CentralHudson.com/my-energy/our-energy-future/powering-the-path.
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