Rise Light & Power Hosts Western Queens Community for First Annual Earth Day Picnic in the Park 

Families commemorate Earth Day in Queensbridge Park, enjoying locally-sourced food and activities promoting sustainability mere steps from power plant on cusp of transformation

Environmental justice advocates, elected officials, and community leaders celebrate Renewable Ravenswood plan to transform city’s largest fossil fuel power plant into clean energy hub 

A key component of New York State’s effort to achieve nation-leading goals for renewable energy, Renewable Ravenswood seeks environmental justice for local community, including country’s largest public housing complex

QUEENS, NY (April 22, 2024) – With Earth Day falling on the first day of Spring Break for New York City public schools – let alone a day with picture-perfect weather, western Queens families flocked to Queensbridge Park on Monday for the first annual Earth Day Picnic in the Park, celebrating plans to transform New York City’s largest fossil-fuel power plant into a clean energy hub. Hosted by Rise Light & Power, in partnership with Variety Boys & Girls Club, Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement, Urban Upbound, HANAC, and elected officials including Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez, State Senator Kristen Gonzalez, Deputy Borough President Ebony Young, and Council Member Julie Won, the festival took place just to the south of the Ravenswood Generating Station, whose generators would be replaced with offshore wind power, battery storage facilities, and connection points for upstate renewable energy under the Renewable Ravenswood plan – a flagship component of advancing New York State’s nation-leading climate goals.

The event featured sound engineering by Ravenswood’s own James Barber; food service provided by Kelston Bascom of Richmond Hill; and equipment rental by Ozone Park’s High Profile Sounds & Events. Activities included climate/energy education, kids’ art stations with printmaking with a local printmaker, wildflower seed art making, conga lessons, and a circus workshop offering lessons in juggling and tumbling. Children made signs with thematic messages such as “Clean energy belongs in Queens, because it’s good by all means!”

As part of the program, local leaders thanked Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) for their support of Renewable Ravenswood and encouraged the administration to take concrete actions in the next year to advance the plan, which will create a clean energy hub, reactivate a portion of New York’s industrial waterfront, and deliver a just transition for members of the Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2 workforce.

“Today’s Ravenswood Earth Day Family Festival kicks off a new tradition for Western Queens and is a symbol of the support for the transformative nature of Renewable Ravenswood,” said Clint Plummer, CEO, Rise Light & Power. “Earth Day is a time to remember that we only have one home and that we need to be good stewards of it. We are grateful to Governor Hochul, NYSERDA, and the elected officials and organizations in our Western Queens community who are partners in our vision. We must all hold each other accountable for the tangible steps forward that are imperative for a responsible and just clean energy transition.”

“This Earth Day we celebrate the promise and potential of Renewable Ravenswood,” said Costa Constantinides, CEO Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens, who also served as the unofficial emcee for the event. “Western Queens has too long been the home to fossil fuel infrastructure polluting the lungs of our residents. We have tired of the asthma alley where our kids travel to the hospital for respiratory illness more than the Queensboro average. The time is now to replace asthma alley with renewable row! Renewable Ravenswood shutters fossil fuel infrastructure and replaces it with good jobs, investment in our community and clean air.  We thank Governor Hochul for her work so far and urge her to cut through the governmental bureaucracy to ensure this project becomes a reality.” 

“With America’s first renewable repowering of a fossil fuel power plant taking place right here in Long Island City, we are making history, and that is worthy of a celebration, particularly on Earth Day,” said Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez. “I am pleased that the First Annual Renewable Ravenswood Earth Day event will be the first of many – and we will keep coming back until the job is done. No hurdle is too high in the fight for clean air and environmental justice.”

“Renewable Ravenswood is especially meaningful for our communities in Astoria, who have dealt with some of the highest asthma rates in the city and who eagerly look forward to cleaner air and more affordable energy,” said Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “Rise Light & Power’s projects will phase out fossil fuel generation and create green, union jobs while transitioning the city to renewable energy. I look forward to partnering with Governor Hochul and NYSERDA to make this project a reality, and hope that Queens can serve as an example of similar projects we can develop nationwide.”

“This Earth Day, we all must recommit to the work of building a greener, more sustainable Queens,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “Thank you to Rise Light & Power for hosting today’s inaugural Earth Day Picnic, and I look forward to our continued partnership as we right the historic environmental wrongs of the past and ensure that Western Queens families have a cleaner community to call home.”

“This Earth Day, we’re celebrating a greener future for our neighbors at Ravenswood and Queensbridge. This move toward a more Renewable Ravenswood will have far-reaching impacts by creating cleaner air and green union jobs,” said Council Member Julie Won. “New York must continue investing in renewable energy in our city to lower harmful emissions, provide sustainable power, and bring us one step closer to our long-term environmental goals.”

In July 2022, Rise published its comprehensive redevelopment plan for Renewable Ravenswood which encompasses the five core components of 1) Offshore Wind, 2) Upstate Renewables, 3) Clean Thermal Energy, 4) Energy Storage and 5) Just Transition. Renewable Ravenswood is a community-driven and community-supported plan, developed over time with thorough feedback from the public, including immersive engagement activities hosted in partnership with Hester Street in summer 2023 that reached more than 600 individuals. 

New York State’s Climate Act has set nation-leading goals for achieving 70% renewably sourced electricity by 2030 and a zero-emission electric grid by 2040.

“Western Queens deserves the transformative benefits that Renewable Ravenswood will deliver,” said Bishop Mitchell Taylor, CEO of Urban Upbound. “This Earth Day and beyond, we applaud the progress cemented by Governor Hochul and ask for her leadership to help us clean up our air, create a new green economy, and deliver the environmental justice we have so patiently awaited.”

“All of us at Riis Settlement are thrilled to participate in this year’s Earth Day Celebration in beautiful Queensbridge Park,” said Chris Hanway, Executive Director, Jacob Riis Neighborhood Settlement. “Renewable Ravenswood is and will be a game-changing project, positively impacting the environment in Queensbridge, Ravenswood, LIC and beyond, and we are proud to be a part of it.”

“When it comes to environmental justice, it doesn’t get much better than replacing fossil fuel generators with wind power,” said Corinne Haynes, President of Queensbridge Houses Residents Association. “Queensbridge, the largest public housing development in the United States, was built more than 20 years before the power plant. After decades of living on the front lines, we thank Rise Light & Power for their vision and cheer on the administration of Governor Kathy Hochul as they partner on this generational project.”

“The Astoria Houses community looks forward to the Renewable Ravenswood plan,” said Vanessa Jones-Hall, Astoria Houses TA President. “In the past couple decades, Astoria Houses residents have seen a rise in life threatening health issues and felt the impact on their quality of life due to fossil fuels. We support the movement toward this green initiative.”

“Let’s leave the planet in the working order we found it in,” said Noel Merritt of Queensbridge Houses. “We owe it to future generations to leave the planet functioning properly. We have to be on the front line sustaining a living environment. “

“Thank God this year we have the promise that we can say goodbye to NYC’s largest fossil fuel power station right here in our backyard,” said Jean Tomasulo, Ravenswood resident. “This Earth Day we have a reason to celebrate as we welcome the promise of a Renewable Energy Station thanks to Governor Hochul’s promise.”

“This Earth Day, it’s time to invest in people and planet alike, which is exactly what Renewable Ravenswood proposes,” said Jim Shillitto, President of Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2. “Our skilled utility workers are ready and excited to retrain for the green energy jobs of the future. Now more than ever, we need to speed up approval and deployment of clean energy technologies to build the energy system that the next generation deserves.”

“This Earth Day, we celebrate the vision for a Renewable Ravenswood and applaud the leaders and project partners working to make it a reality,” said Julie Tighe, President of New York League of Conservation Voters. “As we are learning with the state’s offshore wind industry, achieving big things — and being the first to do so — is never easy; it requires patience and perseverance, but environmental justice and a just transition for union workers – which Ravenswood is poised to deliver on — is a non-negotiable component of our clean energy transition.”


Ben Branham ben@pythiapublic.com

Lindsay Kryzak lk@clintonstreetstrategies.com 

About Rise Light & Power

Rise Light & Power is a New York City based energy asset manager and developer, and is actively transforming its core asset, the Ravenswood Generating Station, into a new clean energy hub. By redeveloping New York City’s largest power generating facility, Rise will permanently replace fossil fuel power with renewable energy, while providing a just transition for its existing union workforce and economic opportunities for surrounding communities. Renewable Ravenswood, core to Rise’s growth-oriented strategy, is at the forefront of the ambitious clean energy transition taking place in New York State and will continue to provide reliable and cost-effective electricity for New York City for decades to come. Rise Light & Power is a wholly owned affiliate of LS Power. For more information, please visitwww.riselight.com.