Don’t make the wrong assumption. This is great:
The Citi Bike Pedal Power Station will be located on the Southeast corner of 7th Avenue and 42nd Street. It will be open to New Yorkers and visitors on Saturday, December 28th and Sunday December 29th from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM and on Monday, December 30th from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Citi Bike brand ambassadors will be on-site taking photos of participating riders. Participants will receive a free Citi Bike day pass and they will be sent a digital photo of them helping power the Ball that they can save and share via social media.
The six bikes at the Citi Bike Pedal Power Station will be connected to 12-volt deep cycle batteries. Each bike is expected to generate an average of 75 watts per hour. The Times Square New Year's Eve Ball is lit by more than 30,000 LEDs. Throughout the three-day event, a power meter at the Citi Bike Pedal Power Station will show how much energy has been generated.
A lot of this press release is a super hard sell for Citi Bike, so note that. And actually, the New Years Eve ball will not be powered by kinetic energy. What Citi hopes to do instead is return to the grid the amount of electricity necessary to light up and drop the ball. This is in the first paragraph, so nothing untoward here, and it’s a fine goal, even in the name of sales.
The electricity to light the ball will be coming from sources other than kinetic energy – including the Indian Point nuclear facility. Granted, some coal and natural gas will be there, too, doing the electricity thing, but kinetic energy generated by bicycles sounds pretty cool, much cooler in fact. I couldn’t figure out from the coverage here and elsewhere how Citi determined how much electricity the ball will use so as to generate the same amount from their bikes, but really, who cares? The reality is more banal but of the moment – and will create a dazzling illumination – but this is the future.