City’s Largest Solar Energy Installation To Be Built At Freshkills Park
On November 25, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Parks Commissioner Veronica M. White, Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty and Director of the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability Sergej Mahnovski announced that the largest solar energy installation in New York City will be installed at Freshkills Park on Staten Island.
Approximately 47 acres of land will be leased to SunEdison, which was selected through a public bidding process to design, construct, install and operate a solar power facility with the potential to generate up to 10 megawatts of power – five times more than any solar energy system in the city and enough to power approximately 2,000 homes. The solar power system will be an integral part of Freshkills Park, and will increase the City’s current renewable energy capacity by 50 percent. Fostering the market for renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions are two key initiatives of PlaNYC, the City’s long-term sustainability blueprint. This announcement is the latest in a series of solar initiatives the city has launched in recent years including significantly scaling up use of solar energy at City-owned sites and developing the NYC Solar Map, a web-based tool that estimates the feasibility of installing solar panels on any of the one million New York City buildings.
The City is also moving forward with steps to officially map an additional 1,500 acres of Freshkills into parkland, officially bringing the total for Freshkills Park to 2,200 acres and bringing New York City's total parkland to more than 30,000 acres. The Mayor made the announcement at Freshkills Park where he was joined by Borough President James Molinaro, Assembly Member Michael Cusik, Assembly Member Matthew Titone and Atilla Toth, General Manager for SunEdison.
NYC Parks intends to file the application to the Department of City Planning to formally map an additional 1,500 acres of the Freshkills site as parkland. Currently mapped for a variety of uses and under different jurisdictions, this application will include a provision for specific sites at Freshkills to develop renewable energy. The move will expedite and streamline the administrative process to build the Freshkills solar facility as a model of this Administration's commitment to long-range sustainability practices. This application represents hard work years in the making, highlighting the City's commitment to parks and sustainability, alongside the elected officials and local leadership in Staten Island.
In addition, once the application process is complete and with the area designated as parkland, the added land at Freshkills will put the City at over 30,000 acres of parkland - a size greater than the entire city of San Francisco. Specific to the ‘Borough of Parks,’ the mapping would give Staten Island the highest parkland acreage of the five boroughs, at 8,822 acres, representing 28 percent of the City’s parkland. In all, the City has added 871 acres of parkland since 2001.
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