Renewable Energy Breathes New Life into Buffalo, N.Y. Economy

Renewable Energy Is Breathing New Life into Buffalo, N.Y. Economy - Renergy

Buffalo lost approximately a third of its population of 20- to 40-year-olds over the past 40 years and with that decrease came a hard hit to its economy. But a growing renewable energy industry is helping rebuild its community, spurring a serious rebound for New York’s Queen City.

According to a recent article from The New York Times, the region is capitalizing on its natural assets, i.e. Niagara Falls, and existing infrastructure leftover from its manufacturing heyday, to lay the groundwork for some serious wind and solar energy projects.

The Buffalo River will soon host one of the largest solar panel factories in the United States and, in Lackawanna, a cluster of wind turbines are already spinning energy from Lake Erie. Soon, they’ll be joined by a massive solar installation, too.

On a different spot along Buffalo’s Lake Erie, 14 wind turbines provide enough renewable energy to power something like 15,000 homes.

But these projects don’t just mean clean energy for the region – they mean jobs, too. When SolarCity, a leading rooftop solar installer, opens its panel factory in the area, it’ll bring with it approximately 1,500 jobs and support just as many employees through partnerships with regional suppliers.

The influx is partly a result of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s $1 billion commitment of tax breaks and grants, which, together with the area’s planning process, helped reduce the region’s unemployment rate to 5.3 percent. That’s the lowest it’s been since 2007.

Read the full story on NYTimes.com: The Wind and Sun Are Bringing the Shine Back to Buffalo.

Cari Oberfield