Albany, NY - August 3, 2016 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the launch of Clean Energy Communities, a $16 million initiative to help local governments across the state reduce energy consumption and drive clean energy use in their communities. The new initiative advances the Governor’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy and demonstrates the importance of communities in helping New York achieve the state’s goal to supply 50 percent of its electricity from renewable energy resources by 2030.
“New York is a leader in the fight against climate change and the development of a green economy and at the heart of these efforts are the individuals across the state,” said Governor Cuomo. “This initiative encourages alternatives that will save money and create new opportunities for municipalities, and is one more step toward building a cleaner and more sustainable New York.”
Cities, counties, towns and villages that complete at least four of the 10 high-impact clean energy actions identified by the New York State Research and Development Authority will be designated Clean Energy Communities. These communities will become eligible to apply for grants of up to $250,000 with no local cost share to support additional clean energy projects.
One key objective of Clean Energy Communities is to harness the capabilities of local governments to motivate their communities and accelerate local energy-saving and renewable energy projects, such as solar and wind. The communities’ actions will help them meet their sustainability, climate and energy goals while contributing to the state’s efforts to meet the Clean Energy Standard, which mandates that 50 percent of New York’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2030.
Richard Kauffman, Chairman of Energy and Finance for New York, said, "Under Governor Cuomo's leadership we are empowering municipal and community leaders to take control of their clean energy future and contribute to the state's efforts to address climate change. The Clean Energy Communities initiative will support and recognize cities, towns, and counties for driving broader adoption of energy efficiency, renewables, and other clean technologies to cut costs and protect the environment."
John B. Rhodes, NYSERDA President and CEO, said, “Clean Energy Communities will demonstrate that local governments can provide effective leadership in helping their communities reduce energy use and protect the environment. They will stand as role models for communities across the State and country, as New York advances Governor Cuomo’s nation-leading energy strategy.”
Basil Seggos, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation, said, “Communities are essential in the fight to address climate change and achieving our emission reduction and energy efficiency goals, and through Governor Cuomo’s ongoing leadership, New York State has built a robust state-local partnership through our Climate Smart Communities program, with 187 communities across New York enrolled. The new Clean Energy Communities grants provide the resources that communities need to implement the clean energy actions and transportation improvements that are critical for New York State to meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals.”
The actions that local officials can take with NYSERDA and other state support through the program include:
- Benchmarking energy use at municipal and large privately owned buildings.
- Performing energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to municipal buildings.
- Replacing street lights with energy-efficient LED lighting.
- Streamlining local approval processes for solar projects through adoption of the NYS Unified Solar Permit.
- Undertaking a community-based Solarize campaign to reduce solar project costs through joint purchasing.
- Providing energy code enforcement training to code officers.
- Earning Climate Smart Communities Certification by reducing the community’s impact on the environment.
- Passing a local law to allow aggregation of residents to gain greater choice and control over energy use as a group (called Community Choice Aggregation).
- Installing electric vehicle charging stations and using alternative fuel vehicles, such as hybrid and electric cars, for municipal business.
- Establishing an Energize NY Finance Program that enables long-term, affordable Property Assessed Clean Energy financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects at commercial buildings and not-for-profits.
Through Clean Energy Communities, locally based outreach and implementation coordinators will provide free, on-demand technical assistance, including step-by-step guidance, case studies and template contracts to help municipalities implement these actions and address their clean energy priorities. To access this support, please send an email.
State Senator Joseph Griffo, Chair of the Senate Energy Committee said, “Many communities all across the state struggle every year to cut costs for their taxpayers, and so I am glad this funding program will offer further incentive for municipalities to save energy while moving toward a future of clean power.”
Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Energy, said, “The Clean Energy Communities program will provide municipalities across New York with the support needed to undertake innovative clean energy projects. Municipalities will be able to implement clean energy programs that are best suited to their communities, benefitting local residents and moving the State closer to reaching its clean energy goals.”
Funding is set aside for both large and small communities in each Regional Economic Development Council region. NYSERDA will accept applications for funding on a rolling basis through September 30, 2019 or until funds are exhausted, whichever comes first. Funds are being provided through the Clean Energy Fund and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. More information on this funding opportunity can be found here.
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is the nation’s first program to use an innovative market-based mechanism to cap and cost-effectively reduce the carbon dioxide emissions that cause the climate to change, and New York State took a leadership role in adopting regulations that lowered the emissions cap. Emissions from power plants in New York State are down approximately 45 percent since 2005, and auction proceeds from sale of the RGGI allowances have reduced electricity expenditures and created thousands of green energy sector jobs.
About Clean Energy Fund
The 10-year, $5.3 billion Clean Energy Fund is a core component of New York State’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy to achieve a clean, resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers. It is designed to deliver on New York State’s commitment to reduce ratepayer collections, drive economic development, and accelerate the use of clean energy and energy innovation. It includes a minimum of $234 million in funding over the first three years to support clean energy opportunities specifically to benefit low- to moderate-income communities throughout the State. The CEF also supports the aggressive Clean Energy Standard, which requires that 50 percent of the State’s electricity come from renewable energy sources by 2030.
About Reforming the Energy Vision
Reforming the Energy Vision is Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's strategy to lead on climate change and grow New York's economy. REV is building a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers by stimulating investment in clean technologies like solar, wind, and energy efficiency and generating 50 percent of the state's electricity needs from renewable energy by 2030. Already, REV has driven 600 percent growth in the statewide solar market, enabled over 105,000 low-income households to permanently cut their energy bills with energy efficiency, and created thousands of jobs in manufacturing, engineering, and other clean tech sectors. REV is ensuring New York State reduces statewide greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and achieves the internationally-recognized target of reducing emissions 80 percent by 2050. To learn more about REV, including the Governor's $5 billion investment in clean energy technology and innovation, please visit here and follow on Twitter.