Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Big Green Apple: Mayor says answer to energy needs is blowin' in wind

Tuesday, August 19th 2008, 11:24 PM

LAS VEGAS - Windmills atop theBrooklyn Bridge. Green power inFresh Kills. The Statue of Liberty's torch powered by an ocean windfarm.

That's the vision for a green revolution Mayor Bloomberg laid out in a speech at the National Clean Energy Summit on Tuesday night.

"Perhaps companies will want to put wind turbines atop bridges and skyscrapers, or use the enormous potential of powerful off-shore winds miles out off the Atlantic Coast, where turbines could generate roughly twice the energy," Bloomberg told the summit.

"We don't generate a lot of electricity in New York City," he said. "But we can work on using less. And in New York, we're determined to do what no other city has ever attempted, and that is to keep our energy usage at or near its current level even as our population grows."

The mayor predicted city government would ultimately save money by making its buildings and vehicles more energy-efficient.

"New York City is going to make money by being green," Bloomberg said. "And that's the message we want to send to the private sector as well: You can have it both ways."

He said he wants the city to start generating its own green power by harnessing solar panels, river tides - and maybe even windmills atop the Brooklyn Bridge or the Empire State Building.

"There's a lot of logistical as well as esthetic considerations. Off-shore is much more likely," Bloomberg said later. "If there is a large ape that starts climbing the Empire State Building, it might get in his way."

New York has agreed to buy wind power from a state agency and support small-scale solar projects on top of some city buildings, part of Bloomberg's plan to cut city greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2030 and give New York the cleanest air of any large American city.

"More than 100 years ago, a new statue standing tall in New York Harbor gave our nation its greatest symbol of freedom," Bloomberg said. "In this century, that freedom is being undermined by dependence on foreign oil."

The mayor put a new wrinkle on the statue's famed inscription of "huddled masses yearning to breathe free."

It would be a "thing of beauty, if when Lady Liberty looks out on the horizon, she not only welcomes new immigrants to our shores, but lights their way with a torch powered by an ocean windfarm," Bloomberg declared.

Earlier Tuesday, the mayor had lunch at the Wynn casino with fellow summit speaker T. Boone Pickens, the billionaire oilman now pushing wind power as a solution to America's energy crunch.

Meanwhile, the city's Economic Development Corp. on Tuesday asked green-power companies to propose a variety of clean-generation ideas for the city to consider.

Documents show the city wants to know whether green-power proposals could work in parks like Pelham Bay in the Bronx and Fresh Kills on Staten Island, as well as how many jobs would be created by each idea.

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