A Win for London: Green Electricity

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Photo: Getty Images


We've learned from this week's magazine that London's got a construction boom now — an interesting construction boom — plus an immigration influx, great theater, "a civic boldness," and plenty of good food. And here's one more accomplishment for our once-Dickensian rival across the pond: London is perhaps greener than New York, today producing more than twice the renewable energy we do. This news came at the latest PlaNYC 2030 forum, held at NYU yesterday, where electricity experts confirmed that New York's power supply will fail to meet demand by 2012 unless more buildings start generating and reusing their own electricity. And why don't we?

Developer Douglas Durst and Columbia prof Steve Hammer laid the blame squarely with Con Ed. Hammer explained that we produce relatively little renewable power, despite plenty of rooftops for solar power and a lovely wind corridor in the Rockaways. Durst installed a system to reuse heat as electricity in his new One Bryant Park, and he said the electric company resisted making necessary connections for years. Why is London doing better? "The difference is, the local utility is their partner," Hammer said. "Con Ed has to realize that they are part of the problem," agreed Rudin Company COO John Gilbert. And also now part of a transatlantic competition. —Alec Appelbaum