Category Archives: Clean Energy Communities

Mid-Hudson Street Light Consortium Moves to Next Phase

As many municipalities are becoming aware, conversion to LED street lights offers savings of up to 65 percent. As such, it is one of the 10 High Impact Actions in the NYSERDA Clean Energy Communities program.

In December, the Mid-Hudson Street Light Consortium and the town of Red Hook (Dutchess County) issued a Request for Proposals for installation and (optional) maintenance of LED street lights. Eighteen additional municipalities joined as Participants. The town expects to announce the selected bidder within the next 60 days. The selected firm(s) will enter into separate contracts with participating municipalities.

The RFP was developed by the consortium particularly for municipalities with fewer than 400 street lights. As a cost-saving measure, it does not include procurement. Rather, the consortium is assisting communities with LED procurement through the State bid system and other group buying opportunities.

Red Hook Town Supervisor Robert McKeon, Rosendale Town Councilwoman Jen Metzger, and Mid-Hudson Street Light Consortium team lead Pat Courtney Strong
presented at the New York State Association of Towns meeting in Manhattan February 19.
They described the deep cost and energy savings of LED street lights (typically 65%). Red Hook, a regional leader in clean energy projects, is leading an 18-municipality aggregation that is seeking to convert to LEDs through the Mid-Hudson Street Light Consortium.
More here:

The consortium also drafted a second RFP for communities interested in “turnkey” procurement, installation, and optional maintenance services. The city of Kingston (Ulster County) is expected to be the lead municipality for the turnkey offering, and other communities statewide will be able to join. The city plans to issue the RFP this Spring.

The RFP activity is taking place concurrently with efforts by communities such as Red Hook and Kingston to purchase their street lights from their utility companies. In 2008, the New York State Comptroller issued a report that recommended municipal purchase of street lights as an opportunity for substantial cost savings.

After contractors are selected for both RFPs, the agreed-upon pricing will be available to other communities across the State for up to one year, under a State procurement law that provides for “piggybacking.”

All New York State utilities also offer an option for municipalities to convert to utility LED lights. While local governments must continue to pay “rent” for their street lights in the form of monthly fixture charges, these charges tend to be lower than the rates for existing lights and communities would see long-term cost savings, especially when combined with energy savings. If a municipality chooses the utility LED conversion option, the Public Service Commission requires that local governments pay the remaining undepreciated value of the lights being replaced. Most utilities allow on-bill financing of this upfront cost.

Funded by NYSERDA’s Cleaner Greener Communities Program, the Mid-Hudson Street Light Consortium began operations in June, 2016 and expects to be active through fourth quarter 2018. Member organizations are Courtney Strong Inc. (lead), Citizens for Local Power, Abundant Efficiency LLC, and LightSmart Consulting LLC.

More information:  and

All-Volunteer Team Guides Town of Keene Toward High Impact Actions

Carolyn Peterson, Keene Clean Energy Group Volunteer

The town of Keene has embarked on an ambitious plan to undertake a host of high impact energy actions, capably led by an all-volunteer team.

Acting on a recommendation from Supervisor Joseph P. Wilson, Jr., the town board passed a resolution establishing the Keene Clean Energy Group as a volunteer advisory and working committee dedicated to assisting the town in achieving clean energy goals.

Carolyn Peterson, a former mayor of Ithaca, and Dan Mason, a retired oil industry executive and a founder of the North Country Clean Energy Conference, are joined by Jim Bernard, Amy Nelson, Monique Weston, Jackie Bowen, Bunny Goodwin, and Josh Whitney.

“Everyone has a project they’re excited to be working on,” said Supervisor Wilson.

Dan Mason, founder of the North Country Clean Energy Conference

The town has been designated as a Clean Energy Community for having achieved these High Impact Actions:

The town hopes to receive a $50,000 Clean Energy Communities award.  Possible projects include solar PV for three of their four municipal buildings; interior LED light lights; and energy audits, especially at the town water plant. Mason estimates he PV project alone is an opportunity to save $3,000 a year. Post-award, the group plans to work on LED street light conversion, EV charging stations, a town electric bus, and more. The group also plans to move forward with an effort to bring Keene into the Climate Smart Communities program and is already achieving single-sort recycling, a program requirement.

“The Clean Energy Communities award for a community our size is very significant,” said Peterson. About 11 percent of Keene’s approximately 450 year-round homes and businesses have solar installations, indicating a relatively high level of community engagement with sustainability issues.

To inform its policy direction and activities, the group has met with Mothers Out Front, a chapter of the national organization that raises awareness about climate change.

Town of Queensbury to Implement Seven High Impact Actions with Help from Clean Energy Committee

The NYSERDA Clean Energy Communities High Impact Actions are a framework to help communities throughout New York State develop and prioritize their clean energy goals. The town of Queensbury formed a Clean Energy Committee in the summer of 2017 with the goal of completing a minimum of four of the high impact actions.

John Strough, Town Supervisor

In just six short months, the town has exceeded its goals. The Clean Energy Committee is led by Kathy Bozony, an environmental consultant for the town, and John Strough, the town Supervisor. Together with town board member Catherine Atherden, town staff, and other local stakeholders, the group is on its way to complete seven of the 10 High Impact Actions.

The hard work the committee invested to implement High Impact Actions exemplifies why Queensbury is considered a local leader in the clean energy arena. Committee members decided to work the High Impact Actions concurrently in an effort to complete four in time to meet NYSERDA’s deadline for the CEC $50,000 grant while also improving the community’s overall energy consumption.

Kathy Bozony,Clean Energy Community Committee Chair

It’s a win-win situation for everyone and it’s paid off.

High Impact Actions completed:

  • Unified Solar Permit. The town adopted a standardized permit application designed to streamline the approval process for installing solar in the community.
  • Benchmarking. The Committee assisted with the gathering and reporting of the town’s energy use in buildings
  • Energy Code Enforcement Training. Code enforcement officers attended an energy code best practices training on solar panel systems.
  • Clean Fleets. The town installed two EV charging stations at the municipal water plant with plans to deploy alternative fuel vehicles in the near future.

High Impact Actions underway:

  • Solarize. The Committee moved forward with implementing a local solarize campaign to increase the number of solar rooftops in the town and is inviting other Warren County communities to join in the effort.
  • Clean Energy Upgrades. The town is working on reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent. Solar panels already installed on municipal buildings have brought them very close to reaching this goal. Additionally, interior and exterior lights were recently replaced with LEDs in the town office and Activities Center Complex.
  • LED Street Lights. The Committee is exploring converting the town’s street lights to energy-efficient LED technology.

Kathy Bozony looks forward to the work the Clean Energy Committee will continue to implement in the future. “It’s the work the Clean Energy Committee plans to do after the initial four High Impact Actions have been completed that will include the community and its participation in reduction of fossil fuel dependency, which remains the main focus for creating the committee.”

The town of Queensbury has shown strong leadership in the clean energy arena and has been highly focused on the cost savings and environmental benefits of taking such actions. The implementation of their Clean Energy Committee allowed for public involvement in the NYSERDA Clean Energy Communities process and demonstrates their commitment to clean energy.

Highlights from EV Infrastructure Workshop: Paving the Way for Electric Vehicles

The Capital District Regional Planning Commission hosted the EV Infrastructure Workshop at Johnstone Supply in Troy, NY on January 10, 2018.

Adam Ruder, NYSERDA Program Manager, described the Clean Transportation Program

The workshop provided an overview of the Clean Energy Communities program by CEC coordinator Robyn Reynolds and presenters covered a variety of topics:

Click on image to view larger

  • – EV charging station demonstration and discussion by Johnstone Supply
  • – Review of the State’s support for zero-emission vehicles by Mark Lowery, DEC
  • – Information on NYSERDA’s Clean Transportation Program by Adam Ruder
  • – Overview on the Clean Cities Program by Jen Ceponis, Capital District Clean Communities Coalition
  • – Examples of the user-experience by Paul Dietershagen, Albany/Capital District EV Drivers Group 

See agenda for contact information and bios

Event host Johnstone Supply plans to become a regional distributor of EV charging stations, helping municipalities use the state bid system to secure competitive pricing.

Watch the presentations:

EV Infrastructure: Paving the Way for Electric Vehicles (1.10.18)

Electric vehicles (EVs) reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants that cause smog and acid rain. Compared to gasoline powered cars, EVs are significantly more energy efficient and cost approximately 50 to 70% less to operate per mile.

NYSERDA’s Clean Fleets High Impact Action is an effort by local governments to invest in alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure while increasing opportunities for constituents to
access EVs charging stations. In communities large and small, urban and rural, charging stations are being installed at a wide variety of locations across New York State.


Download Slides

View Presentations:

Energize NY, BlueFlame Join to Fund Clean Energy

have begun working together to bringstreamlined project development services and PACE financing to commercial and not-for-profit building owners in NY State for solar photovoltaic, combined heat and power (CHP), LED Lighting and Cool Roof projects.


BlueFlame offers financing options in the Commercial and Industrial energy project sector. BlueFlame’s HyperQual, an end-to-end lead generation, underwriting and financing solution, helps to originate and fund small and middle market projects efficiently and at scale.  BlueFlame will be using Energize NY’s innovative PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing to structure 10- and 20-year service contracts with their customers.


Energize NY Finance is a Clean Energy Communities High Impact Action Item. Energize NY Finance, also known as Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing, is a program adopted by an eligible local government that allows property owners to pay back the cost of clean energy upgrades to their commercial or non-profit property through a special charge on their property tax bill.


Energize NY Finance enables eligible commercially-owned buildings in New York State to secure funds to tackle significant energy upgrades and renewable energy projects. This financing structure is available through the Energy Improvement Corporation (EIC) for projects that aim to install permanent improvements that reduce energy costs in existing buildings. EIC is a local development corporation and a New York State nonprofit established specifically to assist local government and property owners achieve long-term energy savings and/or generate renewable power for use on site.


  • If you are interested in establishing a PACE Financing program, please contact the Energy Improvement Corporation at (914) 302-7300 or by email at 
  • If your local government has been allocated Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs), consider using them in support of your Energize NY Finance program
  • Read the Energize New York toolkit for templates, fact sheets, and other resources

Knox Volunteers Help Implement High Impact Actions

Amy Pokorny at the Altamont Fair

The Town of Knox proves that no community is too small to be awarded the title of a NYSERDA Clean Energy Community. When Town Board Member Amy Pokorny learned about the program, she mobilized a group of local volunteers and neighbors to help them achieve the Clean Energy Communities (CEC) designation. The Town has limited staff capacity and a population of fewer than 3,000 residents.

The group of volunteers ranged in terms of energy literacy, and several were experts in engineering, building science and renewable energy policy. Each volunteer took the time to learn about the NYSERDA High Impact Actions (HIAs) and organized on the best way to present them to the local leadership and move forward with implementation. NYSERDA has developed toolkits for each HIA and has contracted with local coordinators to assist communities interested in the program. Amy credits the help of the Eastern NY Clean Energy Communities team:

“Robyn Reynolds (CEC Coordinator) made it all possible for us with her guidance, enthusiasm and encouragement, and Greg Mumby is expertly coaching us through the next steps,” said Ms. Pokorny.  “It is a very satisfying experience to be accomplishing such useful work and achieve such important goals at the local level where we can really make meaningful changes. “

Through a creative and collaborative process that proved to be fun and productive, the group was able to win the Town’s designation by taking on Benchmarking, researching and meeting the requirements of the Unified Solar Permit, helping to promote local Solarize Campaigns, attending the Energy Code Enforcement Training and coordinating on energy issues with other towns and the City of Albany.

The Town of Knox completed five of 10 High Impact Action Items:
  • Benchmarking – Adopt a policy to report the energy use of buildings
  • Solarize – Undertake a local solarize campaign to increase the number of solar rooftops

Where there is passion, there is success. Congratulations to the Town of Knox and the volunteers that made it possible: Dee Woessner, Betty Ketcham, Laure-Jeanne Davignon, Robert Price, Rich Weltzin, Debra Nelson, Tara Murphy, Dan Sherman, Vasilios Lefkaditis and Dennis Barber.

The Tally: 32 Clean Energy Communities To-Date

Congratulations to the 32 municipalities that have been designated as Clean Energy Communities in Upstate Eastern NY. Each has completed at least four of 10 “high impact actions” that save energy and money and contribute to lowering greenhouse gas emissions – activities such as tracking energy use in municipal buildings, training for improved energy code enforcement, and enactment of policies to support solar energy.

Under the program, grants are available to 18 communities in each region of the state.  All city, town, village, and county governments, Indian 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 municipalities being recognized by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)’s Clean Energy Communities Program are:

CAPITAL REGION: Albany County, Town of Bethlehem, Schenectady County, City of Cohoes, Town of Niskayuna, Town of Knox, City of Albany

HUDSON VALLEY: Ulster County, Town of New Castle, Village of Dobbs Ferry, City of Kingston, Town of Red Hook, Town of Rosendale, Village of Hastings-on-Hudson, Village of Croton-on-Hudson, City of White Plains, City of Yonkers, Town of Ossining, Town of Somers, Town of Marbletown, City of New Rochelle, City of Beacon, Town of Mamaroneck, City of Peekskill, Village of Goshen

MOHAWK VALLEY: City of Gloversville, Village of Ilion, City of Rome, Village of Boonville

NORTH COUNTRY: Lewis County, Town of Franklin, Village of Canton

Clean Energy Communities

Congratulations to the newest municipalities that have been designated as Clean Energy Communities in Eastern NY. Each of these communities has completed at least four of 10 “high impact actions” that save energy and money and contribute to lowering greenhouse gas emissions – activities such as tracking energy use in municipal buildings, training for improved energy code enforcement, and policies to support solar energy.

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 newest municipalities being recognized by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)’s Clean Energy Communities Program are:
MOHAWK VALLEY: City of Gloversville
HUDSON VALLEY: Village of Hastings-on-Hudson, Town of Rosendale, Village of Croton-on-Hudson, City of White Plains, City of Yonkers, Town of Ossining
CAPITAL REGION:  Albany County, Schenectady County, Town of Bethlehem

These communities join Ulster County, Kingston, Dobbs Ferry, Red Hook, and New Castle, which were previously designated.

Community Solar Takes Off – With a Home Heating Oil Company Leading the Way

One of the first Community Solar projects in New York State is on line, developed by an

Tom Kacandes, President, Inside Track Solar, Inc.

Ulster County building owner who employed a sophisticated tax strategy in the construction of a unique solar array. The discount electric power was then marketed to a small group of customers already doing business with a home heating oil company.

SMCBC, LLC hired Inside Track Solar, Inc. to lead the contracting, development, and construction of 532 bi-facial panels on a medical arts building at 918 Ulster Avenue, Kingston.

The solar panels were made in nearby Highland by Prism Solar Technologies, Inc.Inside Track Solar President Tom Kacandes specified the system to maximize the amount of power produced by elevating the panels higher above the roof than any previous system so that the bi-facial panels can make additional power from light reflected by a white roof installed for the purpose. The roof not only adds to the solar kilowatt-hours per year, but also rejects infrared solar rays to keep the building cooler in the summer, reducing cooling demand and improving tenant comfort.

Building owner Robert Ryan made an additional investment in new, more efficient HVAC units on the joint advice of his real estate consultant, Joseph Deegan, principal, SVN Deegan-Collins Commercial Real Estate Associates and Kacandes. The solar kilowatt-hours produced by the new system go directly to the grid and are allocated by Central Hudson Gas & Electric to two dozen residential customers of HeritagEnergy, a home heating oil company, via their new affiliate Heritage Solar, which charges a discounted rate for the solar credits they receive. Heritage Solar plans additional Community Distributed Generation or CDG projects now allowable under new state rules to serve many more of their 10,000+ residential customers.

The Ryan development is currently the only community solar project in Central Hudson, Orange & Rockland, Con Edison and PSEG Long Island territories. Kacandes now is helping the owners of HeritagEnergy commercialize a solar panel rack technology that allows panels to form a waterproof roof. More information about this technology, for which he holds two patents, can be found at