Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced more than 200 communities across the state have earned the Clean Energy Community designation, completing more than 1,250 total high-impact clean energy actions. Two of them are in Genesee County: The Town of Batavia; and the Village of Bergen.
The designation recognizes community leadership in reducing energy use, cutting costs and driving clean energy, all supporting the state's clean energy goals.
In the Finger Lakes Region, which includes the Town of Batavia and Village of Bergen, a total of 56 communities are participating in the Clean Energy Community designation efforts; a total of 139 Clean Energy actions have been completed to date; and a total of 22 communities have earned the designation so far.
The Clean Energy Community initiative advances the Governor's Reforming the Energy Vision strategy by demonstrating the importance of communities in helping New York achieve the state's goal to supply 50 percent of its electricity from renewable energy resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030.
"New York is a national leader in combating climate change, and this significant milestone demonstrates that communities in every corner of this great state are committed to our efforts to create a more sustainable future," Governor Cuomo said. "These 200 communities serve as a model for cities and towns across this state and this nation to reduce energy use and preserve our environment for generations to come."
Announced by Governor Cuomo in August 2016, the $16 million Clean Energy Communities initiative 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.
"Communities across the state are undergoing projects to help cut costs and support clean energy," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "More than 200 communities in New York have earned the Clean Energy Community designation, further advancing our aggressive clean energy goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
"New York is leading in our efforts to combat climate change, and municipalities statewide are helping to make sure our environment is clean and safe now and for future generations."'
Overall, the 1,255 high-impact clean energy action items were completed by communities representing more than 86 percent of the state's population in 60 counties and all 10 Economic Development Council regions. View a map showing Clean Energy Communities, actions completed and communities engaged in the Clean Energy Communities initiative.
More than 450 communities are participating in the Clean Energy Communities initiative and have completed at least one high-impact action.
The Clean Energy Communities initiative was recently honored as a recipient of the Clean Energy States Alliance 2018 State Leadership in Clean Energy Award. Clean Energy Communities was one of six programs nationwide to win the 2018 award for its outstanding accomplishments with public benefits and results, cost effectiveness, leadership and innovation, and replicability.
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Segos said, "New York recognizes and supports community efforts to help achieve Governor Cuomo's ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals. I applaud the achievements of the designated Clean Energy Communities across the state and hope that others are inspired by their outstanding example."
Richard Kauffman, chair of Energy and Finance for New York State said, "Congratulations to all the Clean Energy Communities for taking significant actions to reduce their carbon footprint and cut costs. Communities continue to play an important role in supporting Governor Cuomo's Reforming the Energy Vision strategy to advance and build a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system to combat climate change."
Alicia Barton, president and CEO, NYSERDA, said, "I congratulate the Clean Energy Communities across the state that are realizing the opportunities to reduce their energy usage and costs while providing a cleaner environment for their residents. Governor Cuomo has made it a priority to ensure local communities have access to resources and technical assistance to assist them in their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint."
Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee Chair Joseph Griffo said, "There are now 200 communities throughout New York State that have received a Clean Energy Community designation, which is given to communities who have shown leadership in their efforts to reduce energy use. I would like to congratulate all the Clean Energy communities across the state for serving as an example of sustainable energy practice for all New Yorkers."
Assembly Energy Chairman Michael Cusick said, "Encouraging communities to use clean energy alternatives is an important step toward reaching our State's energy goals. By investing in green energy products, we are creating a more sustainable future for the next generation of New Yorkers to building a cleaner, more resilient New York for all. I'm encouraged by these results and look forward to seeing more communities implement clean energy practices."
Cities, counties, towns and villages that complete at least four of 10 high-impact clean energy actions are designated as Clean Energy Communities and are eligible to apply for funding of up to $250,000 to finance additional clean energy projects. Areas with fewer than 40,000 residents are eligible to apply for up to $100,000 in funding. NYSERDA is accepting applications for funding on a rolling basis through Sept. 30, 2019 or until funds are exhausted, whichever comes first. Grant funds are being provided as part of the Clean Energy Fund and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
The 10 High Impact Actions local governments can to take to earn a Clean Energy Community designation and qualify to apply for grant funding 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 electric cars, for municipal business; and
- 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.
Clean Energy community coordinators are also 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 visit www.nyserda.ny.gov/cec.