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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.


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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