cover-nyc

[Slideshow] Powering New York


Powering New York

By Visual Capitalist

Between the bright lights of Times Square to the air conditioned climes of the MoMa, there's a whole lot of New York to Power. In this slideshow, we explore what it takes to power NYC for a year.

  • Annual Energy Usage

    By Visual Capitalist

  • Coal

    By Visual Capitalist

  • Hydro

    By Visual Capitalist

  • Natural Gas

    By Visual Capitalist

  • LNG

    By Visual Capitalist

  • Oil

    By Visual Capitalist

  • Oil

    By Visual Capitalist

  • Solar

    By Visual Capitalist

  • Solar

    By Visual Capitalist

  • Nuclear

    By Visual Capitalist

  • Wind

    By Visual Capitalist

  • Wind

    By Visual Capitalist

  • Wind

    By Visual Capitalist

  • Assumptions

    By Visual Capitalist

  • Assumptions

    By Visual Capitalist

  • Connect With Us

    By Visual Capitalist

    [Visual Capitalist](http://www.visualcapitalist.com/subscribe) creates and curates rich visual content on business and investing.

[Slideshow] Powering New York

Imagine that overnight all power infrastructure in New York were to disappear. Then, starting from scratch, we could build anything we wanted: a giant solar array that stretches to the horizon, the world’s biggest windfarm, or a mega nuclear facility.

What would it take to power the Big Apple for a year with each individual energy source?

We’ve crunched the numbers for oil, natural gas, liquefied natural gas, solar, wind, and hydro. Then, we visualized what is needed for each to be hypothetically feasible as the city’s only source of energy. (Note: we’ve included some notes on our calculations at the bottom of this page.)

The results are quite mind boggling. For example, to facilitate New York City’s average power needs, you would need 12.8 km² of solar panels, enough to cover a good chunk of New Jersey. The average distance one can see into the horizon is 5km, which means that one would be able to see solar panels as far as the eye can see.

Another interesting example: powering New York City with hydroelectric based on average power needs would mean 14 Hoover Dams, each which produce about 4.2 billion kWh per year in energy. Using wind power, about half of Long Island would need to be converted into the world’s biggest wind farm to power New York City. That’s exponentially bigger than the current biggest wind farm in the United States, which is in the Tehachapi-Mojave region in California and has a nameplate capacity of 1,320 MW.

Quick notes on calculations

This presentation is for visualization purposes, and isn’t fully realistic on a technical basis because in reality, the supply and demand of energy is not constant. The city’s power needs fluctuate during base and peak load times. In terms of supply, the wind is not always blowing and the sun isn’t always shining. We based our numbers off of average electricity consumption, assuming that energy can be banked in times of surplus and used during times of deficiency.

We used some assumptions for the efficiency as well. For example, that a power plant burning oil has an efficiency of 533 kWh per barrel, or that our wind farm uses 1.5 MW turbines that have a capacity factor of 25%.

Use and share this presentation

Feel free to use or share this presentation by either:

  • Using the embed code on the slideshow
  • Saving the images and using them directly. Here’s a dump of all images used in a zip..
  • Sharing and/or linking directly to this page

If you use this, it is appreciated if you can give attribution credit back to Visual Capitalist

subscribe_tovc2

Other Infographics

Gold: The Most Sought After Metal on Earth
3d-linkA Year’s Extraction of Metals Next to Landmarks A Year's Extraction of Metals Next to Landmarks and Cities
Peak Population
Inside Tesla's $5 Billion GigafactoryThe Definitive History of Bitcoin 



  • Squamptonite

    How much energy is needed to convert the NG to LNG? I’m guessing a very large amount.

  • Tony Ottinger

    “12.8 km² of solar panels, enough to cover a good chunk of New Jersey”???
    That’s just under 5 square miles, or 5 city blocks. Doesn’t seem that big to me….

Mornings are better with Visual Capitalist.coffee_email1

Thank you!
Given email address is already subscribed, thank you!
Please provide a valid email address.
Please complete the CAPTCHA.
Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.