This 118-acre landfill in Edgemere is the proposed site of a solar panel field that could generate electricity for thousands in the community. Before it was closed and remediated in the 1990s
Local civic leaders have asked the Long Island Power Authority to install a solar panel field at the 118-acre Edgemere landfill along Jamaica Bay near Kennedy Airport — with waterfront access to park users.
“We’d like it to become a national model for generating electricity and respecting the environment,” said Community Board 14 District Manager Jonathan Gaska. “It’s a beautiful location that’s been unused for years.”
The former dump was closed and remediated more than 15 years ago, and is now controlled by the Parks Department.The site handled 1,000 tons of garbage a day in 1987, according to published reports.
LIPA officials said they’re open to the idea and are prepared to sit down with local leaders to discuss it. Unlike most of New York City, the Rockaways are on the LIPA power grid.
“We’re interested in the concept,” said Michael Deering, LIPA’s vice president of environmental affairs. “We look forward to working on it.”
Gaska penned a letter to LIPA President and CEO Kevin Law in April to outline the proposal.
The plan, however, is not without hurdles. Law wrote that “numerous technical, engineering, fiscal, ownership and public policy matters” must be examined before panels could be installed.
Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer said the project could potentially reduce power rates and create jobs.
“There’s a lot of national interest in going green,” said Pheffer, a Democrat, who represents a large portion of the peninsula. “People are becoming very aware about the environment, and this is a good opportunity, if it’s feasible.”
The utility is also working with Con Edison to explore building an offshore wind farm some 13 miles off the Rockaway coast. LIPA believes it could produce 350 megawatts of power.
LIPA would need to examine the landfill site and any environmental agreements before the solar project could move forward, Deering said.
“I’m sure that the landfill is under some requirements as part of the remediation,” he said. “Landfills, by their nature, tend not to be stable.”
LIPA is already working with two solar panel companies to produce 50 megawatts of power on Long Island, enough to light 6,500 homes.
The proposal’s backers said a solar panel field is consistent with the new national policy objectives of the Obama administration. Gaska has asked the mayor’s office to help facilitate the project.
“The President said, as a matter of national security, we need to move towards solar and wind power,” Gaska said. “It’s a source of cheap, efficient power.”