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How to Fit a Vast Green Energy Hub in New York City

Rikers Island: Looks like there may be a bright green future for a dark place.


Rendering of a proposed new green energy hub on Rikers Island
Credit: Renewable Rikers

A coalition of groups are envisioning the former jails (being shut down in 2027) on Rikers Island as the hub for green energy generation, enough to power 45,000 homes, says the New York Times.


Rikers sits in an advantageous position within an infrastructural nexus near La Guardia Airport. Furthermore, large infrastructure could be more secure long term on Rikers, as it used to be the site of a landfill, making it about 100 feet higher than the surrounding land.


At 400 acres, it’s not everyday that so much land suddenly becomes available. The Regional Planning Association, the group that commissioned the report on Rikers as a potential green energy hub, even found that there would also be space for new wastewater plants.


The report found that the aging wastewater treatment facilities on Randall Island, and in the Bronx and Queens, could all be replaced, clearing even more acreage for communities to add whatever infrastructure they have need of.


“The chance to have 400-plus acres of land in New York City that we can use to put us at the forefront of fighting climate change is really a transformative opportunity,” said Zachary Katznelson, a director of the Renewable Rikers Coalition.

 

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