NYC mayor calls for wind turbines atop skyscrapers

A view of the New York skyline with buildings along Central Park South, as seen from the AeroBalloon ride flying above New York's Central Park on the opening day of rides open to the public, July 25, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Segar

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wind turbines would top New York City skyscrapers and bridges and dot the city’s shorelines, while the mighty tides that drive the Hudson and East Rivers would also generate power under a new plan Mayor Michael Bloomberg presented on Tuesday.

“I think it would be a thing of beauty if, when Lady Liberty looks out on the horizon, she not only welcomes new immigrants, but lights their way with a torch powered by an ocean windfarm,” Bloomberg said in a copy of a speech he will give in Las Vegas at the 2008 National Clean Energy Summit.

Geothermal plants and rooftop solar panels are also options, said the billionaire mayor, whose second and final term ends in January 2010. He gave companies until September 19 to submit innovative proposals toward the mayor’s broad goal of making the city greener by 2030.

Bloomberg, an independent who has pushed into the national sphere with gun-control and infrastructure plans, faulted politicians for “treating us to a political silly season” and “pandering” to voters instead of solving the energy crisis, which he called the nation’s top issue.

Calling a carbon tax the only measure that will work “corruption free,” he added: “Some want a cap-and-trade system, which is like taking three right turns instead of one left.”

Last week marked the fifth anniversary of the black-out that deprived 50 million people in the Northeast and Canada of electricity, Bloomberg noted. The country must play “catch-up” he said, citing estimates that producing 20 percent of U.S. electricity by 2030 with wind power will require $60 billion of spending on transmission infrastructure.

New York City also will soon push private building owners into conserving electricity. New laws and regulations will require energy users to receive more information about the “real value” of conservation. “And they’ll also require cost-effective retrofits of our existing larger buildings,” he added.

Reporting by Joan Gralla; Editing by David Gregorio