Renewable Rikers Feasibility Study Report: The New York City Mayor's Office of Climate & Environmental Justice

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Rikers Island is a 413-acre island in the East River in the Bronx where most of New York City's jail facilities are located. With limited transportation connectivity, it is relatively isolated from most New York communities - which narrows the range of potential future uses but also creates a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build critical climate infrastructure to serve New Yorkers. New York City has adopted aggressive carbon emission reduction and clean energy mandates and legislation, including the 2019 Climate Mobilization Act, which requires citywide emissions reductions from large buildings and municipal operations on an incremental scale until 2050. The city has also committed to achieving carbon neutrality citywide by 2050. Almost 90% of the electricity that powers New York City's grid is currently generated by fossil fuels, while the opposite is true in upstate New York, where approximately 90% of electricity powering the grid is from zero-emissions and renewable sources. This discrepancy is largely due to the difficulty of siting large-scale renewable generation in dense, urban areas, and building long-distance transmission lines through numerous topographies and jurisdictions to bring renewables from less-dense places into New York City's grid, which the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) designates as "Zone J." Rikers Island presents an opportunity to site renewable energy infrastructure within Zone J and support New York City's transition to clean energy.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages72
StatePublished - 2024

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-7A40-89346


  • energy justice
  • feasibility study
  • island
  • JEDI
  • just transition
  • net-zero
  • New York
  • New York City
  • offshore wind
  • OSW
  • photovoltaics
  • PV
  • renewable
  • Rikers
  • solar
  • utility scale
  • wind


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