Energy and New York City

Most New Yorkers don’t think very much about where the electricity comes from to power their cell phones and other electronic gadgets.  As long as they can charge their gadgets and use them 24/7, they don’t care how the electricity is produced, how much electricity is being used, or what the consequences are.  However, Superstorm Sandy wiped out the electrical power grid for a large part of New York City for a few days.  That event should serve as a warning to all of us that our power grid is vulnerable and should not be taken for granted.

Do you know where our electricity comes from in New York City? Believe it or not, 80% of it is generated right here in New York City using power plants fueled with natural gas, a fossil fuel.  A significant chunk comes from the nuclear power plant at Indian Point in Northern Westchester County.  Another portion comes from Niagara Falls.  Approximately 1% or less comes from wind energy.

In other words, most of our electricity is generated from either fossil fuels or nuclear energy.  A small percentage comes from renewable energy such as hydro-electric energy and wind energy.  Keep in mind that climate scientists predict that our planet’s average global temperature will climb between 2 and 5 degrees Fahrenheit within the next 50 years because of global warming/climate change which is primarily caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

We know that the solution to climate change is to drastically reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and switch to renewable energy sources.  But until that happens, we all need to reduce our energy usage as much as possible.  Do you know how much energy your refrigerator uses?  Do you know how much your laptop uses? On Sunday, October 11 the Eco-Carnival will present several fun and interactive activities on the theme of sustainability.  For example, what’s the watts energy challenge asks participants to rank the electrical appliances in their home by how much energy they use.  It’s not as easy as it sounds!

Please come to the Eco-Carnival on Sunday, October 11 at La Plaza Cultural Community Garden on Avenue C and East 9th Street in the East Village from 12 – 4 pm.  Bring your children, your friends, and your relatives to this fun and educational event.  It’s free!