Over the last decade, New York has seen multiple bad energy proposals, from offshore liquefied natural gas facilities, to hydrofracking, to providing lifelines to dirty coal plants. Members of the public have time and time again said “no” to these polluting, antiquated fossil fuel projects. We need to move our state in a cleaner, more sustainable direction. Fortunately, Governor Cuomo has listened to the public and has continued to support and invest in increased renewable energy. Standing alongside former Vice President Al Gore, Cuomo recently pledged to reduce harmful climate change emissions and move NY towards a renewable energy economy. To fulfill that commitment, we need to invest in large scale wind and solar projects.
One such project is the Shoreham Solar Commons. This 25 megawatt solar project will replace energy now generated by dirty, polluting fossil plants on Long Island and reduce harmful climate change emissions by roughly 29,000 tons per year. That's good news for the climate, our environment, and public health for all Long Islanders.
Shoreham Can Aid Water Quality
In addition, the project will also work to improve water quality on Long Island. Long Islanders get 100% of our drinking water from underground aquifers. This groundwater also feeds all of our lakes, streams, rivers, and harbors. Unfortunately, the quality of our groundwater is steadily declining, due to increased contamination and over-development.
So, how will solar energy help our water quality? Currently, the site of the solar farm is a golf course—a heavy user of toxic pesticides and high-nitrogen fertilizers. By replacing the Tallgrass Golf Course, Shoreham Solar Commons will eliminate a significant source of these pollutants. There’s no need for fertilizers or pesticides under solar panels. Existing flora on the golf course will be replaced with indigenous, drought-resistant plants. This project will also prevent the site from being developed into new residences, mitigating further potential groundwater contamination by septic seepage, as well as residential application of pesticides and fertilizers.
Solar Sets the Right Energy Path for Long Island
Long Island has been on the forefront of many environmental and renewable energy initiatives and have set strong, aggressive precedents for environmentally sound decisions that will shape our energy future. Moving towards a 21stcentury renewable economy means investing in large scale wind, residential solar, and large scale solar projects. Shoreham Solar Commons would signify the right energy shift for Long Island and New York. This solar project is consistent with renewable goals called for by federal, regional, state, county, and local leaders. More importantly, it is aligned with what Long Islanders have been asking for—increased clean, home-grown renewable energy.