The NYSERDA Clean Energy Communities
program is flourishing in the North Country as more communities continue to receive and seek designation. 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. In addition to providing tools, resources, and technical assistance, the program recognizes and rewards leadership for the completion of clean energy projects.
Here’s a run-down of the latest communities tackling clean energy and climate issues in the North Country:
St. Lawrence County
St. Lawrence County is the most recent community to have completed four High Impact Energy Actions (HIAs) and has been named a Clean Energy Community by NYSERDA. Local governments must complete four of 10 High Impact Actions to earn a Clean Energy Community designation and qualify to apply for grant funding. At least two actions must have been completed after August 1, 2016. The County received the designation for completing the following high-impact clean energy actions:
- – Benchmarking – Adopted a policy to report the energy use of buildings
- – Clean Energy Upgrades – Achieved 10% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from buildings
- – Clean Fleets – Purchased a plug-in hybrid and installed an electric vehicle charging station
- – Solarize – Managed a Solarize marketing campaign to encourage residents to install solar installations with more than 40 units installed countywide.
“It’s wonderful that we have been designated as a Clean Energy Community. We will continue to be mindful of our energy usage and will look for new ways to save energy and promote energy conservation,” said Legislator John Burke, Norfolk. Burke first introduced the idea of the county becoming a Clean Energy Community in 2016.
The designation gives the County an opportunity to apply for up to $250,000 toward additional clean energy projects, with no local cost share.
Village of Canton
The village of Canton was designated a Clean Energy Community earlier this year and has received a $100,000 grant from NYSERDA to install new energy-efficient blowers at its wastewater treatment plant.
“This funding came at a most opportune time,” Mayor Michael Dalton said. “The blower upgrade at the wastewater treatment facility is desperately needed. The existing equipment is failing and in need of frequent repair.” Canton received the designation for completing four of 10 high-impact clean-energy actions:
- – Climate Smart Communities – The village and town boards passed resolutions to become a Climate Smart Community and progress is being made toward certification.
- – Energy Code Enforcement Training– Code enforcement and other municipal officers completed training on best practices in energy code enforcement.
- – Solarize – Canton’s Town and Village Sustainability Committee launched a successful Solarize campaign, resulting in close to 40 residential installations of solar panels.
- – Unified Solar Permit– The village adopted the state’s Unified Solar Permit, streamlining local approval processes for solar projects.
The village is also pursuing conversion to LED streetlights and benchmarking energy use in municipal buildings.
Town of Waddington
Lastly, the town of Waddington is awaiting Clean Energy Community designation from NYSERDA. The four high impact actions completed by the town were:
- – Benchmarking – Monitored energy use of local government buildings to find ways to lower it
- – Clean Fleets – Built an electrical charging station
- – LED Street Lights – Converted street lights to energy efficient LED technology
- – Unified Solar Permit – Adopted a standardized permit application designed to streamline the approval process for installing solar in the community.
As it awaits designation, the town has begun considering clean energy project ideas that meet grant funding guidelines under the Clean Energy Communities Program. One project idea is to improve the energy efficiency of older buildings such as the Town Hall and the library. It also hopes to expand on the 55-kilowatt solar array behind the town office.
Currently there are 28 remaining awards in the North Country region. NYSERDA manages an online dashboard
that provides regularly updated information on the number and amount of remaining grants in each region by community size. Communities in the North Country can email Jaime Rogers at for assistance navigating the program.