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NYSERDA

May 26, 2020 - 2:21pm

Press release:

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) today (May 26) announced more than 300 communities across the state have earned the Clean Energy Community designation, completing more than 1,700 total high-impact clean energy actions.

In Genesee County, which is part of the Finger Lakes Region, only the Town of Batavia and the Village of Bergen earned the designation.

The designation recognizes community leadership in reducing energy use, cutting costs, and driving clean energy, all of which are advancing Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Green New Deal – the nation-leading clean energy and jobs agenda putting New York on the path to a carbon-free power grid by 2040 and a carbon-neutral economy.

“Under his unwavering leadership, Governor Cuomo is empowering more local communities to join in the State’s efforts to reduce statewide emissions and combat climate change through programs like this," said Alicia Barton, president and CEO, NYSERDA.

"Congratulations to all the Clean Energy Communities across New York for taking on a leadership role with these significant actions to reduce their energy use and costs while helping to support New York’s nation-leading clean energy goals.”

Announced by Governor Cuomo in August 2016, the $16 million Clean Energy Communities initiative, administered by the New York Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), supports local governments across the state by providing grants to eligible municipalities to implement energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainable development projects in their communities.

Overall, more than 1,700 high-impact clean energy actions were completed by communities representing more than 91 percent of the state’s population in 61 counties and all 10 Economic Development Council regions.

Some of the largest communities across New York State have been designated Clean Energy Communities, including the City of New York, Erie County and City of Rochester. View a map showing Clean Energy Communities, actions completed, and communities engaged in the Clean Energy Communities Initiative.

More than 570 communities are participating in the Clean Energy Communities initiative and have completed at least one high-impact action.

Finger Lakes Region (which includes Genesee County)

  • Designated Clean Energy Communities: 33 -- In Genesee County there are two -- Town of Batavia and Village of Bergen
  • Participating Communities: 75
  • Clean Energy Actions Completed: 208

"New York State’s Climate Smart Communities program (CSC) works in partnership with NYSERDA’s CEC program to help local governments take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to our changing climate," said New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos.

"At a time when the federal government is rolling back critical environmental programs and protections, we congratulate NYSERDA on reaching this milestone and working with communities to combat climate change.

"In New York State, 45 percent of the population lives in a registered CSC and 21 percent of residents are now living in certified CSCs. Including New York City’s program, more than 60 percent of the state’s residents live in communities taking action to help protect the environment for future generations.”

Under the Clean Energy Communities program, cities, counties, towns and villages that completed at least four of 10 high-impact clean energy actions are designated as Clean Energy Communities and were eligible to apply for funding of up to $250,000 to finance additional clean energy projects.

Areas with fewer than 40,000 residents were eligible to apply for up to $100,000 in funding.

Grants, which have historically been provided through the Clean Energy Fund and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, are fully exhausted at this time.NYSERDA expects to release a new update to the Clean Energy Communities Program in the coming months to provide communities new opportunities for grants and recognition while driving the next level of impact.

Key highlights of clean energy actions communities completed across the state include:

  • 100 cities, towns and villages across New York have converted approximately 290,000 streetlights to light-emitting diode (LED);
  • More than 630 electric vehicles deployed as part of clean municipal fleets;
  • Nearly 1,000 electric vehicle charging ports installed;
  • 930 code officers and other municipal officials completed energy code enforcement training;
  • 342 communities adopted the New York State Unified Solar Permit.

Please visit NYSERDA’s website for the list of 10 High Impact Actions local governments can take to earn a Clean Energy Community designation.

DEC's Climate Smart Communities (CSC) program was launched on Earth Day in 2009, and is an interagency initiative that helps local governments take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate.

It is jointly sponsored by the following seven New York State agencies: Department of Environmental Conservation; NYSERDA; Department of Public Service; Department of State; Department of Transportation; Department of Health, and the New York Power Authority.

The program offers grants, rebates for electric vehicles, and free technical assistance to interested communities.

Local governments across New York State have mobilized in response to the current public health crisis to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect their residents.

NYSERDA remains open for business to support communities and local businesses in assessing and benefitting from clean energy actions and combatting the effects of climate change when they are able to do so.

Clean Energy Community coordinators are available at no charge to help communities develop and prioritize clean energy goals; access easy-to-use resources, such as guidance documents and case studies; and take advantage of available funding and technical assistance opportunities. Local government officials or employees can find contact information for their respective coordinator here for assistance in completing the actions.

For more information on Clean Energy Communities, please visit NYSERDA’s website.

New York State's Green New Deal
Governor Cuomo's Green New Deal is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, putting the state on a path to being entirely carbon-neutral across all sectors of the economy and establishing a goal to achieve a zero-carbon emissions electricity sector by 2040, faster than any other state.

It builds on New York's unprecedented ramp-up of clean energy including a $2.9 billion investment in 46 large-scale renewable projects across the state, the creation of more than 150,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector, a commitment to develop nearly 1,700 megawatts of offshore wind by 2024, and 1,700 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2012.

The recently passed Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act mandates the Green New Deal's nation-leading clean energy targets: nine gigawatts of offshore wind by 2035, six gigawatts of distributed solar by 2025, and three gigawatts of energy storage by 2030, while calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy.

The CLCPA also directs New York State agencies and authorities to collaborate with stakeholders to develop a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050 and aim to invest 40 percent of clean energy and energy efficiency program resources to benefit disadvantaged communities.

December 4, 2018 - 12:27pm

Press release:

The New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) today announced that $19 million is available to accelerate the use of anaerobic digester gas-to-electricity projects and clean energy technologies to make farm operations more energy efficient.

The use of clean energy technologies and practices represents major cost-saving opportunities for farms and supports Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s ambitious clean energy goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030.

Alicia Barton, president and CEO, NYSERDA, said, “Throughout New York’s history, farms have played a critical role in sustaining the nourishment and health of our families and communities. Governor Cuomo’s emphasis on providing funding to help bridge the gap between the agricultural sector and energy efficiency will help farms across the state reduce their energy usage while continuing to provide environmental benefits for their local communities.”

NYSERDA is offering $16 million to accelerate the anaerobic digester sector. An anaerobic digester gas-to-electricity system is a renewable energy source that can reduce costs for a facility by using waste materials as fuel to generate electricity at the same location that it is used.

Anaerobic digester systems can be used on farms, wastewater treatment plants, and as stand-alone systems to treat food wastes. They are fueled by gas from the processing of biomass feedstocks such as manure, agricultural waste, food waste, and other wastes.

Of the $16 million, nearly half is for proposals to install new anaerobic digester gas-to-electricity systems in ways that demonstrate replicable business models or strategies to expand the anaerobic digestor marketplace. These proposals must describe how their projects will improve the marketplace for anaerobic digestion technology.

The remaining funds will be used to cost-share the refurbishment of existing digesters and associated equipment to extend their useful lifespans as well as for projects that will improve the capabilities of the anaerobic digestion marketplace.

An additional $3 million is being offered for the Advancing Agriculture Energy Technologies initiative to accelerate commercially available technologies and practices to make a farm operation more energy efficient. Under this initiative, proposals for emerging technologies should be replicable and provide cost-effective energy efficiency improvements to farms in New York State.

Eligible technologies and practices include hardware, software, and operational strategies. Selected technologies and practices will be demonstrated on host site farms to increase awareness in the agricultural industry about these processes.

To increase the likelihood of new energy efficient applications, a team approach is strongly encouraged. Eligible team members could include developers, manufacturers, farm owners, universities and other academic institutions, trade or professional organizations, and utilities.

The goal is to increase the number of farms adopting emerging energy efficient technologies and to increase communication and market awareness of clean energy technologies for the agriculture sector.

NYSERDA and the Department of Agriculture and Markets collaborate on the Clean Energy for Agriculture Task Force, an assembly of farmers, universities, agriculture organizations, and others to help identify and prioritize clean energy opportunities for New York State’s agriculture sector.

In March 2017, the Task Force announced its Strategic Plan, which identified initiatives to cut energy costs and accelerate the use of clean energy by more than 35,000 farms across the state. This funding supports the Strategic Plan.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Clean energy is our future and it is critical we continue to identify new ways to harness these opportunities to power our farms. Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York continues to lead the nation in environmental sustainability initiatives such as this one that are helping our farms save money and become more energy efficient.”

These offerings are just one of many steps the state has taken to support clean energy on farms including the Agriculture Energy Audit Program which offers free energy audits to identify energy efficiency measures for eligible farms, including but not limited to, dairies, orchards, greenhouses, vegetables, vineyards, grain, and poultry or egg producers.

Agriculture covers approximately 25 percent of land use in New York State. Livestock and agricultural activities at New York’s farms account for nearly 3 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Total energy use on farms accounts for approximately 9 percent of farm expenses (equal to about $450 million in annual expenses).

Greater use of clean energy practices by farms can further reduce their greenhouse gas impacts and energy costs while building on the state’s efforts to promote environmentally sustainable practices. As of the end of 2012, the most recent number available, there were 1,379 renewable energy systems on farms in New York. Of these, 23 have anaerobic digester gas systems that are operational with another seven in the process of being installed.

Today's announcement supports New York's nation-leading efforts to combat climate change as part of the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of 16 states and Puerto Rico committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and pursuing aggressive climate actions at the state level in light of the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords, to create an energy grid that can be relied on during severe weather events.

The funding is made available through the state’s 10-year, $5.3 billion Clean Energy Fund. More information about these two solicitations is available on NYSERDA’s website.

July 27, 2017 - 8:31am
posted by Maria Pericozzi in NYSERDA, bergen, news.

The Bergen Town Board is looking to earn a Clean Energy Community designation through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, NYSERDA, which would qualify Bergen to apply for grant funding.

The Clean Energy Communities Program is a $16 million initiative to help local governments across the state reduce energy consumption and drive clean energy use in their communities.

Hanna Quigley, from the Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council, said there are a total of 11 grants left.

In order to be eligible, Bergen must make changes to the community, in areas such as solar energy, LED technology and energy usage.  

Donald Cunningham, the supervisor of the Bergen Town Board, said the Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council reached out directly to offer their services.

“They can do a study to see [which High Impact Actions] might be beneficial for us,” Cunningham said. “The study is of no charge.”

According to the NYSERDA website, local governments in New York State can use the Clean Energy Communities program to implement clean energy actions, save energy costs, create jobs and improve the environment. The program also recognizes and rewards leadership for the completion of clean energy projects.

If the town board decides to earn the Clean Energy Community designation, Bergen must complete four of the 10 High Impact Actions. These are, reporting the energy use of buildings, clean energy upgrades to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, converting street lights to LED technology, installing vehicle charging stations, increasing the number of solar rooftops, streamlining the approval process for solar, energy code enforcement training, a Climate Smart Communities Certification, offer energy upgrade financing to businesses and nonprofits, and community choice aggregation.

Cunningham said being a Clean Energy Community could lead to more requirements throughout the community.

“Basically, they still have grants available that they’re trying to use up,” Cunningham said. “It can’t hurt to try.”

The town board has until Sept. 30, 2019, or until the grant funds run out, to apply for the grants.

February 16, 2017 - 11:31am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, town of batavia, NYSERDA.

The Batavia Town Board took another step in the municipality’s drive to attain Clean Energy Communities status Wednesday night by approving two resolutions -- one to convert the town’s street lights to energy-saving LED lights and the other to apply for a Unified Solar Permit grant through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

The board voted to utilize National Grid’s LED outdoor street lighting conversion program that enables communities to switch from high-pressure sodium to LED lighting. LED conversion is one of 10 “high-impact actions” listed on NYSERDA’s Clean Energy Communities checklist.

Town Engineer Steve Mountain said that the town will be converting 75 street lights via the National Grid plan at a minimal cost -- about a $9 increase per month in the town's electric bill over a 10-year period.

"There is an incentive from NYSERDA built into the program," Mountain said, "which translates to energy savings over time."

Mountain said that the National Grid program is much cheaper than contracting with a private enterprise, which could cost as much as $50,000. He said he expects the LED conversion to be completed by this summer.

The LED conversion is the last of four actions performed by the town as a requirement to apply for one of 14 Clean Energy Communities grants in the Genesee/Finger Lakes Region. NYSERDA is offering four $100,000 grants and 10 $50,000 grants to municipalities of up to 39,999 people.

Previously, the town implemented three other “high-impact actions” – Benchmarking, Unified Solar Permit and Energy Code Enforcement Training, Mountain said. 

The second resolution passed last night paves the way for the town to receive a $2,500 grant from NYSERDA as an incentive for adopting the NYS Unified Solar Permit. The Unified Solar Permit is a mechanism to help communities reduce costs and delays relating to solar installations.

In other action, the board:

-- Approved a resolution to operate and maintain the Edgerton Road Water District in the Town of Elba, which services two residences, at the current rate of $5.10 per 1,000 gallons of water for a regular customer and $3.73 per 1,000 gallons of water for an agricultural customer.

The privately funded water district that was added on to a previous water district in Elba consists of about 4,500 linear feet of 6-inch diameter water main and all related hydrants and other accessories.

-- Passed a resolution to appropriate $2,695 in 2017 to support the Genesee County Senior Center recreation program.

-- Voted to buy a new Toshiba printer for the Town Hall at a cost of $8,330, along with annual maintenance agreements at a cost of $1,458 plus overages. The building’s current copier will be transferred to the highway facility.

-- Announced that there will be a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, to address questions about the Alexander Road/Pearl Street Road sewer extension.

February 6, 2017 - 11:54pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, city of batavia, NYSERDA, Clean Energy Communities.

zorn_cecp.jpg

City of Batavia leaders are exploring the possibility of receiving up to $100,000 in grant funding through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s Clean Energy Communities Program.

Public Works Director Matt Worth, Maintenance Superintendent Ray Tourt, Waste & Wastewater Superintendent Jim Ficarella and City Council members Adam Tabelski and Rose Mary Christian attended an hour-long presentation Monday night to learn the ins-and-outs of the program, which recognizes and rewards local governments for implementing a clean energy strategy.

The CECP is a $16 million statewide initiative to help municipalities reduce energy consumption and drive clean energy use, said David S. Zorn, executive director of the nine-county Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council and regional program coordinator.

Of that $16 million, $1.7 million in grants has been allocated to communities in the Genesee/Finger Lakes Region that achieve “Clean Energy” status.

Local governments that achieve at least four of 10 “high-impact actions” will earn CEC designation and then be eligible to access the grant funding, Zorn said.

“We will provide the resources and technical assistance to help local governments take action that could result in significant money saved at the municipal level, and also create jobs and improve the environment,” he said. “And we’re not just throwing a manual to you or giving you a link to a website. We actually have people in our office to assist you.”

Zorn outlined the 10 high-impact actions during his presentation at City Centre Council Chambers.

He said that Batavia, as a city, would be able to choose any of the 10 in its effort to obtain a grant for small/medium populations (under 39,999 people). He said that four $100,000 grants and 10 $50,000 grants will be awarded to communities in that population range in the Genesee/Finger Lakes Region -- and no local match would be required.

For large population centers (40,000 and over), NYSERDA will be awarding two grants of $250,000, and two grants of $150,000.

The 10 high-impact actions are as follows:

-- Benchmarking: Using the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) portfolio manager software, the community reports the energy use of municipal buildings to the public on an annual basis.

-- Clean Energy Upgrades: The municipality must achieve a 10-percent reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions from its buildings through upgrades and renewable energy.

-- LED Street Lights: One of the “poster children” of the program, according to Zorn, this action item requires the locality to convert at least half of its cobra head-style street lights to energy-efficient LED technology.

-- Clean Fleets: Communities must install an EV charging station and/or other alternative fuel infrastructure OR deploy alternative fuel vehicles in the municipal fleet. In the case of the LED street lights and clean fleets, the NYS Power Authority offers low-interest financing and assessment assistance, Zorn noted.

-- Solarize: This is a campaign where communities or a third-party facilitator oversee at least 10 residential or small business rooftop solar installations. Zorn said discounts as well as state and federal tax incentives apply to these types of projects.

-- Unified Solar Permit: Municipalities pass legislation to adopt the NYS Unified Solar Permit to reduce costs and delays for solar projects.

-- Energy Code Enforcement Training: A one-on-one training for the community’s code enforcement officer and two other employees, this action results in “best practices” code enforcement by focusing on collaborative plan reviews and joint inspections of local construction projects.

-- Climate Smart Communities Certification: Localities can earn bronze, silver or gold designation by complying with this comprehensive rating system. Zorn said that 11 communities in Genesee/Finger Lakes have made this pledge, with the City of Rochester already achieving certification.

-- Community Choice Aggregation: A type of “bulk buying” program, this action item gives municipalities the opportunity to transition to alternative energy sources by enlisting residents and business owners to purchase energy at lower prices.

-- Energize NY Finance: An option for cities and counties only, this allows commercial or nonprofit property owners to pay back the cost of clean energy upgrades to their buildings through a special charge on their property tax bills.

Zorn said that the CECP has been going since last summer and thus far more than 50 municipalities in this region have been advised of the program.

“But nobody has gotten to four (high-impact actions) yet,” he said.

Tabelski and Christian said they will report on the CECP at the next City Council meeting, which is scheduled for Feb. 13.

“We’re looking at all aspects of the program,” Tabelski said. “We can’t cross any of these things off the list. We need to see how we can apply them to the city.”

Zorn said his agency is promoting a webinar series through next month and will be sponsoring workshops in May. For information about the webinars, click here.

Photo -- David Zorn informs City of Batavia officials about the finer points of the Clean Energy Communities Program on Monday night. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

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