Using funds that accompanied a consent order, the City purchased two code enforcement vehicles with an eye toward improving air quality within the City, said Melissa Cherubino, director, Building and Planning Department.
“The code officers love it because one charge gets them through the day,” said Cherubino. Each hybrid Ford CMAX came with a charger, which is kept at the Department of Public Works garage. Quarterly fuel costs have been reduced by about two thirds, Cherubino said.
Cohoes is a city of 4 square miles with a population that was recorded as 16,500 in the 2010 census, but it’s grown since then, according to Mayor Sean M. Morse. Cohoes is attracting people who work in Albany but prefer a walkable, greener community just 10 minutes away. More than $60 million in economic development activity is in the pipeline, he said.
“It’s important for the City to do its part to be conscientious about the world we live in. Ours is a city that really wants to be green,” said the mayor. “Looking at our fleet, we wanted to leave it better for next generation. We’re also working on plans for solar street lights, more efficient electrical power in our municipal buildings, and better building codes to encourage more energy efficient buildings from developers. We are committed to do all we can to leave the world better than we found it.” Plans call for the street lights to be powered by a municipal solar installation of 1MG or more, using a power purchase agreement. Savings of $250,000 a year are anticipated.
Cohoes also is pursuing three other high-impact actions: municipal adoption of the Unified Solar Permit; Energy Code Enforcement Training and Benchmarking.
“We started the benchmarking work a few years ago,” said Cherubino. “We identified our costs for each municipal building. Professor Mary Beth Kolosvary from Siena College has supplied us with interns to help us with the work.”
Comp Plan Gives Planners Sustainability ‘Ammunition’
As 2017 begins, the City is wrapping up the development of its Comprehensive Plan. With funding from NYSERDA through Cleaner, Greener Communities, city officials were able to research and write into the plan a set of sustainability goals. By March, zoning code changes will be ready. The City will focus on clean energy use, such as encouraging electric vehicle charging stations and other green infrastructure standards.
“When we list sustainability amid our zoning goals, it give our boards ammunition when developers come before them. We’ll consider allowing greater density, if they’re willing to be green,” said Cherubino.
The City has used New York Power Authority’s Energy Services Program to finance building energy upgrades, and completed a local government operations greenhouse gas inventory.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in conjunction with Office of General Services (OGS) is in the process of developing a second aggregate purchase of zero-emission vehicles this winter. This initiative will increase the number of fuel-efficient and environmentally-friendly assets in government fleets across the state. During the aggregate purchase in spring 2016, the initiative allowed for the purchase price of 63 Chevy Volts at roughly an 11 percent discount, and significant savings are anticipated in this round as well.
There will be a few changes from the previous aggregate purchase, including:
Instead of choosing one type of vehicle for the mini-bid, a more generic minimum set of specifications will allow bids from different automakers, increasing the competition to lower the end price.
Two separate aggregate purchases will be awarded, one for plug-in hybrids and one for pure battery electric vehicles.
Municipalities may save even more on their vehicle purchase through the Climate Smart Communities Municipal Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) and ZEV Infrastructure Rebate Program, which offers rebates to municipalities for costs associated with the purchase or lease (for at least 36 months) of eligible clean vehicles.
OGS and DEC are in the early stages of organizing this aggregate purchase and will have more details soon, including the vehicle specifications. Orders will be due to OGS Fleet Management in Mid-February. The specific date has not yet been released. If you have any questions or comments please contact or .
Six Mohawk Valley municipalities are now studying the adoption of Energize NY Finance. Clean Energy Communities Coordinator Dan Sullivan reports he is in discussions with the cities of Amsterdam, Rome and Utica and the counties of Montgomery, Herkimer and Otsego County, as a result of a Nov. 16th gathering hosted by Mohawk Valley Economic Development District (MVEDD), where Sullivan is based.
Energize NY Finance leverages PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing to help commercial and non-profit property owners undertake deep energy improvements.
Projects include energy efficiency and renewable energy for commercial, multi-family, light industrial and nonprofit owned buildings.
In attendance were, from right: Joseph Del Sindaco, Energize NY/Energy Improvement Corporation and regional PACE-NY representative; Dan Sullivan, Clean Energy
Communities Coordinator, MVEDD; and Karen Sullivan, Otsego County Planning Director. Also in attendance were Joe Caruso, Executive Director, MVEDD, and Jack Spaeth, Utica Industrial Development Authority director.
North Country towns and villages are becoming increasingly interested in conversion to LED street lights, says Clean Energy Communities Coordinator Jamie Rogers of Adirondack-North Country Association. Communities in St. Lawrence, Franklin, Essex, Clinton, Lewis, Jefferson and Hamilton counties are studying LED lighting issues and working to identify the steps they need to take. ANCA is providing outreach to planning departments and elected officials to supply needed information.
The towns of Belmont, Westport, Elizabethtown, Franklin and Malone along with the villages of Canton, Champlain and Crogan have expressed an interest in converting their street lighting to LEDs. Conversion to LED street lights in New York State requires a host of decisions in each community. Among them is determining whether to wait for the utility to develop an LED street light tariff, or to start proceedings to buy the street lights from the utility. In New York State, the Public Service Commission does not require utilities to sell their street lights if asked. In the North Country, National Grid has an LED tariff for communities that wish to continue renting their lights and has not yet begun working with those that wish to purchase their street lights.
ANCA is working with the Town of Westport in Essex County and with the County of Lewis to achieve other High Impact Action items. Upcoming activities for these two communities include completion of benchmarking work, finishing up their energy code training, working to approve clean fleet agreements and kicking off a solarize campaign this spring. Frank Pace has been appointed by the Lewis County Legislature to act as the county liaison to the CEC program.
In the Village of Canton, energy champion Carol Gable serves as chair of the Canton Sustainability Committee. In that capacity, the St. Lawrence University executive works closely with Mayor Michael Dalton and with volunteers like herself who are dedicated to advancing the Village’s sustainability work. “The mayor has been so supportive of our work,” noted Gable.
St. Lawrence University offered to help the Village develop a Sustainability Committee several years ago. Today, there are three subcommittees: Energy, Transportation and Food/Composting. The committee has supported the Village’s retention of Solar City, which is structuring a Power Purchase Agreement for a 2MW municipal solar project that will come on line this summer. The remote net metered project, which will power the Village’s municipal buildings, is being built on a 16-acre site on Route 11.
With the advent of NYSERDA’s Clean Energy Communities program, the Village decided to compete for that funding stream because it has been moving forward on a number of fronts that dovetail with the required High Impact Actions: Solarize, Unified Solar Permit, Code Enforcement Training, LED street lights and Benchmarking.
The Sustainability Committee includes Village Trustee Carol Pynchon, Doug Welch, Anne Heidenreich and Village Superintendent (public works) Brien Hallahan. Louise Gava also served on the committee when she was the sustainability coordinator at St. Lawrence University. Gava now works for the Municipal Electric and Gas Alliance (MEGA).
Gable said she appreciates the help offered to Canton by ANCA’s “circuit riders” David Bradford and Matt Bullwinkle, who provide technical assistance to communities, including Canton.
Listen in on an interview with the Canton Sustainability Committee:
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has announced the first seven communities that have met the criteria for designation as Clean Energy Communities. The municipalities are being recognized for their leadership in reducing energy use, cutting costs and driving clean energy locally.
The Hudson Valley municipalities being recognized by NYSERDA are Ulster County, the Town of New Castle, the Village of Dobbs Ferry, the City of Kingston and the Town of Red Hook. The Towns of Smithtown and Huntington, both on Long Island, round out the group of the first seven communities statewide to be designated.
“This is very much in keeping with the Hudson Valley’s history of environmental stewardship,“ said Pat Pomeroy, executive director of the Newburgh-based Hudson Valley Regional Council, in making the announcement Tuesday. “We are delighted but not surprised, because our team here has worked closely with the designated communities.”
Ulster County (pop. 180,143) is the first designated county statewide and first large community. Town of New Castle (pop. 18,067) is the first designated small community. Village of Dobbs Ferry (pop. 11,131) is the second designated small community. City of Kingston (pop. 23,436) is the first designated city. Red Hook (pop. 11,319) is the first designated community in Dutchess County and the fourth township in the state.
Under the program, grants are available to 18 communities in each region of the state. All city, town, village, and county governments, tribes, and nations may apply. The grants range in size from $50,000 to $250,000 depending on the community’s population. No local match is required.
The $16 million Clean Energy Communities initiative supports local government leaders across the State to implement energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable development projects in their communities. Clean Energy Communities advances the Governor’s Reforming the Energy (REV) strategy by demonstrating the importance of communities in helping New York reach its Clean Energy Standard of 50 percent of the state’s electricity coming from renewable energy resources by 2030.
To obtain a Clean Energy Communities designation, a municipality must document its success at completing at least four of 10 “high impact actions” that save energy and money and contribute to lowering greenhouse gas emissions – activities like tracking of energy use in municipal buildings, training for improved energy code enforcement, and policies to support solar energy.
A look at just one of the high-impact actions—conversion to LED street lights—shows that potential savings are sizable. A 2014 NYSERDA report calculated that if the 1.4 million street lights outside of New York City were retrofitted with LEDs, the resulting annual financial savings from reduced energy use would be about $28 million, with another $67 million in annual savings from reduced maintenance costs. The potential energy savings from replacing these street lights was estimated to be 524 gigawatt hours annually—an equivalent greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reduction of 254,000 metric tons. In the Mid-Hudson Region, the potential energy savings from conversions in Central Hudson Gas & Electric and Orange & Rockland Utilities territories is over 28 million kwh per year, with a cost savings of more than $1.8 million.
To help administer the program, the Hudson Valley Regional Council has deployed three Clean Energy Communities coordinators, Senior Planner Carla Castillo and program coordinators Europa McGovern and Niklas Moran. The three work closely with communities to help them identify and document their high-impact actions and “are proud to have assisted the designated Mid-Hudson Region municipalities with achieving Clean Energy Communities designation,” said Pomeroy.
As an organization of the seven Mid-Hudson county governments, HVRC offers a regional perspective and provides planning, education and outreach, and advocacy services. The council covers the counties of Sullivan, Putnam, Ulster, Dutchess, Rockland, Orange, and Westchester, and the municipalities within them. HVRC contracts with the Capital District Regional Planning Commission to perform this work for NYSERDA.
Municipalities – Background
Ulster County’s four high impact actions were: Climate Smart Communities Certification, Energize NY Finance, Clean Fleets and Benchmarking.
“County Executive Mike Hein is so enthusiastic about this work,” said Ulster County Office of the Environment Coordinator Amanda LaValle. “Under his leadership, we’ve been able to do a lot that’s beyond the scope of this program.” As an example, LaValle cites the county’s decision to source 100 percent of its power from renewable sources, buying offsets for its operations.
New Castle completed Community Choice Aggregation, Energize NY, Benchmarking and NYS Unified Solar Permit.
Rob Greenstein, Supervisor of the Town of New Castle, said, “The Town of New Castle is proud to be the first community in its size range (<40,000 people) in the Mid-Hudson Region to achieve the Clean Energy Community designation. Since the adoption of the Town’s Climate Action Plan in 2011, climate change mitigation and adaptation has been a priority in the New Castle community. This designation has highlighted the importance that we place on renewable energy and sustainability. We are excited to begin to play a heightened role in the State’s attempts to reform the energy landscape of New York State and to develop well-designed, impactful clean energy projects.”
Dobbs Ferry completed Solarize, Climate Smart Communities Certification, LED Street Lights, Clean Fleets, NYS Unified Solar Permit and Benchmarking.
“It starts with people; volunteers who are committed to putting in the time and effort to help educate the community on the benefits and programs which can achieve a more sustainable community,” said Dobbs Ferry Mayor Hartley Connett. “The village’s Energy Task Force – a dedicated group of people led by Nina Orville – have been a critical force behind the village’s accomplishments. Another factor is the importance of using prudent economic analysis in assessing what programs make sense, and how much. Using basic return models as part of the review process, the village has committed even greater investment into the initiatives, which has led in turn to even greater returns and savings over time.”
The City of Kingston completed these high-impact clean energy actions: Clean Fleets, Benchmarking, Climate Smart Communities Certification and Energize NY Finance.
“The City of Kingston has a track record for being a model of sustainability for communities across New York State and we are proud to be New York’s first city to be declared a Clean Energy Community,” said Mayor Steve Noble. “I am so proud of our staff and volunteers who have worked diligently to bring us to this point. I look forward to continuing to demonstrate that by making sustainability a priority, communities can and will thrive.”
Red Hook completed these high impact actions: Solarize, Energy Code Enforcement Training, Benchmarking and NYS Unified Solar Permit.
Town Supervisor Robert McKeon said, “The Town of Red Hook is pleased to be recognized as the first municipality in Dutchess County and only the fourth township in NY to achieve this milestone. The designation is simply an acknowledgement of our steadfast commitment to create a healthier and more sustainable community for our residents. We’re excited to once again partner with NYSERDA to further adoption of Red Hook’s Climate Action Plan and add additional projects to spur our local economies. Folks may not realize that energy and energy efficiency jobs now amount to more than all the fossil fuel industries combined. In addition to the projects listed below, Red Hook is beginning an Energize NY program, installing electric vehicle charging stations at Town Hall and converting our street lights to LEDs.”
Clean Energy Communities – Background
Cities, counties, towns and villages that complete at least four of 10 high-impact clean energy actions are designated Clean Energy Communities and are eligible to apply for funding of up to $250,000 with no local cost share with the option of receiving up to 25 percent paid in advance to support additional clean energy projects. At least two of the four actions must have been completed after August 1, 2016. NYSERDA is accepting 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.
Clean Energy Community Coordinators are available at no charge to support cash- or resource-strapped communities to 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.
More than 100 communities statewide are engaged with the Clean Energy Communities program. For more information on Clean Energy Communities, visit https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/cec.
 New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Street Lighting in New York State: Opportunities and Challenges, December 2014 (Revised January 2015), Report Number 14-42: p. S-2.
 One gigawatt hour (GWh) equals 1,000 megawatt hours MWh); one MWh equals 1,000 kilowatt hours (kWh).
 Using an avoided emissions rate of 0.485 metric tons per MWh, derived from US EPA’s AVoided Emissions and geneRation Tool (AVERT) tool, available at https://www.epa.gov/statelocalclimate/avoided-emissions-and-generation-tool-avert.
Welcome to the second edition of the Eastern NY Territory’s Clean Energy Communities quarterly newsletter. As we enter the sixth month of our effort to execute NYSERDA’s CEC program, we are glad to report the enthusiastic interest of local governments in becoming energy efficient through the Clean Energy Community Program. Within the Eastern NY Territory, which covers the Adirondack, Mohawk Valley, Capital Region, and Mid-Hudson Regions, our team is currently engaged with over one hundred communities, helping them to understand the program and guiding them through the CEC “designation” process in which a community achieves four out of 10 “high impact actions.” In this issue we will spotlight the Hudson Valley, where four of our Territory’s communities have been Designated Clean Energy Communities. We will also highlight the CEC initiatives underway in the City of Cohoes in the Capital Region and several towns and villages in the Adirondacks. Please contact your regional outreach coordinator if your community is interested in becoming a Clean Energy Community.
Hosted by Ulster County Climate Smart Committee
Wednesday, April 13th 2016 | 8:45 AM to 10:30 AM 721 Media Center |
721 Broadway, Kingston 12401
Ulster County Legislator Manna Jo Greene, Chair, U.C. Climate Smart Committee and Pat Courtney Strong, an independent contractor to NYSERDA
Overview of energy consumption – Hugo Jule, Courtney Strong Inc.
o Energy consumption by end users in New York buildings
Solar Procurement Guidelines for Local Government – Emily Chessin, Meister Consultants Group, NY-Sun PV Trainers Network
o Why Procure Solar
o New York Solar Market and Policy Background o Solar Electric System Procurement Process
o Special Areas of Concern for Local Governments
o Case Studies in Municipal Procurements
Q&A Open Discussion
o Town supervisors discuss areas in which they need the most help and follow up.
Mid-Hudson Streetlight Consortium: An introduction
– Jen Metzger, Pat Courtney Strong
In each edition of this e-newsletter, we’ll focus on two communities that are working on energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainability. This time, our spotlight is on Cooperstown and New Rochelle.
Cooperstown is a small village making a big impact. For Lou Allstadt, a trustee and climate activist who calls the Otsego County village of 2,000 home, a point of pride is that the municipality has made the business case for energy efficiency. As one of New York State’s 190 Climate Smart Communities, the Village has taken a host of actions toward sustainability, and is now deciding how to translate these accomplishments into Clean Energy Communities High Impact Actions.
“We’ve been very careful to ensure that the energy saving projects we undertake have both cost savings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions”, says Allstadt, a former Mobil Oil executive.
The Village learned about benchmarking energy use from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Climate Smart Communities program and has collected baseline data on energy uses in buildings, vehicles, sewer and water plants and street lighting. The analysis of that data is now being put into a plain language report that “will be easy for anyone to understand,” says Allstadt. “However, we started working on some of the obvious candidates for reducing energy even before all the data had been collected.”
The Village also:
• Insulated the Village firehouse ceiling and doors, upgraded windows, converted to LED lighting and installed a high efficiency heat pump for cooling and heating.
• is saving fuel and electricity at the large historic village hall with heating system improvements, additional insulation and the first stage of conversion to LED lighting.
• converted a portion of its owned streetlights to LEDs, which prompted further efforts to convert the majority of streetlights owned NYSEG to achieve additional savings.
• already has regulations that provide a simple process for approval of solar energy installations on homes and businesses, which should streamline the process of adopting the New York State Unified Solar Permit, a NYSERDA High Impact Action.
• has added a cost/benefit analysis of fuel efficiencies for purchasing decisions on municipal work vehicles and trolleys.
• with a group of nearby municipalities, has been investigating a solar photovoltaic installation to supply electricity. A developer is being sought.
• has been working with Constellation Energy to analyze possible upgrades of pumps and motors at the water treatment plant and additional LED lighting upgrades, which could count toward the Clean Energy Upgrades High Impact Actions.
• is including energy efficiency in designing upcoming sewer plant upgrades.
• has identified potential locations for EV charging stations.
• passed a climate change resolution that has been picked up by several other towns.
In the Mohawk Valley, Dan Sullivan of the Mohawk Valley Economic Development District provides Clean Energy Communities assistance to municipalities. Reach him at and (315) 866-4671.
LED Leadership From New Rochelle
Two hundred miles to the south, in Westchester County, the City of New Rochelle is out ahead on the High Impact Action of changing over its 7,000 street lights to LEDs. Here are fast facts on the NewRoc project, according to Scott Pickup, operations director for the Department of Public Works:
- The City is financing the lights via a $2.95M Energy Performance Contract.
- The project developer, Lumen Light Solutions, will be paid $650,000.
- Annual savings of 3 million kilowatt hours will account for a 64% reduction in energy costs.
- Initially, the city is set to save approximately $270,000 annually, until the new streetlights are paid off.
- Once the lights have been fully paid for (approximately year 8), the annual savings will balloon to around $638,000.
- Over the estimated 20-year lifespan of the LED fixtures, the city will save upwards of $9 million.
In the Hudson Valley , Carla Castillo of Hudson Valley Regional Council provides Clean Energy Communities assistance to the region’s municipalities. Carla can be reached at and (845) 564-4075.
Municipalities of any size can benefit from the NYSERDA Clean Energy Communities program, as these stories demonstrate. Don’t delay – apply for Clean Energy Communities today.
Written by Allison Dunne for WAMC Northeast Public Radio
October 24, 2016
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced that $790,000 is available for Mid-Hudson Valley municipalities to convert to LED streetlights. The idea is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help the state reach its energy goals.
Cuomo says the initiative is projected to reduce each participating municipality’s electricity costs by up to 65 percent. The Mid-Hudson Street Light Consortium will administer the initiative and is the first such consortium in the state to assist municipalities with LED streetlight conversion. The consortium is led by the Kingston-based firm Courtney Strong and its partners. Pat Courtney-Strong is president of the firm.
“What we are aiming to do, what are goals are is that, one, we’re working with mayors and supervisors to analyze their technical and financial options so that they really understand what the opportunity is with regard to streetlight conversion,” Courtney-Strong-says. “Secondly, we’re helping them get ready to ask the right questions when discussing streetlight acquisition with their utility company. Thirdly, we’re helping municipalities prepare requests for proposals from lighting vendors and maintenance vendors so that they can get the best deals. And then fourthly, we’re helping them get ready to come together as interested communities to pursue a municipal aggregated purchase of streetlights so that even small communities can afford to make the transition.” Read more