Tag Archives: clean energy communities

New Energy Efficiency 2025 Target is Equivalent to Energy Used by 1.8 Million Homes

On April 20th, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced an ambitious acceleration of energy efficiency in New York, including a comprehensive plan to achieve a new target for significant greenhouse gas emission reductions, decrease consumer energy costs and create job opportunities. Meeting the new energy efficiency target will deliver nearly one third of the greenhouse gas emissions reductions needed to meet New York’s climate goal of 40 percent reduction by 2030. This announcement is part of the Governor’s State of the State proposal to develop a milestone Earth Day energy efficiency target and comprehensive strategy.

In the April announcement, the Governor said that energy efficiency is the most cost-effective way for New Yorkers to lower utility bills, curb harmful emissions and battle climate change.

And as the federal government abdicates its responsibility to safeguard our environment, New Yorkers must continue bold action to reduce emissions and protect all New Yorkers, today and in the future, from the devastating effects of climate change.


Round Three to Invest in 10 Additional Downtown Neighborhoods Across New York

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo launched the third round of the transformative Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI), investing $100 million into 10 additional downtown neighborhoods across the state.

Participating communities are nominated by the state’s ten Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs) based on the downtown’s potential for transformation, and each community is awarded $10 million to develop a downtown strategic investment plan and implement key catalytic projects that advance the community’s vision for revitalization.

The DRI is chaired by New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, and supported by private sector experts funded by Empire State Development, and a state agency team from the Department of State and the NYS Homes and Community Renewal. Other agencies are also involved in reviewing and implementing projects.

More information about the Downtown Revitalization Initiative may be found at www.ny.gov/dri.

Orange County Recognized for Reducing Energy Use, Cutting Costs and Driving Clean Energy 

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 solar panels at 5 Spoke Creamery on Pulaski Highway in Goshen. This was the first Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financed energy project in New York State. Photo provided by Energize NY.

Orange County, in the Mid-Hudson region, was recently designated a Clean Energy Community by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). Work on this initiative was led by the County Planning Department with key support from County Executive Neuhaus, the County Legislature and Department of Public Works.

“We are pleased to receive this recognition from NYSERDA,” Neuhaus said. “The CEC program provides a wonderful example of what we can do to foster local climate and clean energy action, while saving local governments and residents money on their energy bills, creating local jobs and realizing the tremendous opportunities provided by expanding the green economy.”

The County received the designation for completing the following high-impact clean energy actions:

  • – Benchmarking. Adopting a Legislative Policy and Initiating Benchmarking of energy use of County buildings.
  • – Climate Smart Communities Certification. Earning Climate Smart Communities (CSC) Certification through actions reducing the community’s impact on the environment. Orange County was the first County in New York to earn CSC certification.
  • – Energize NY Finance. Establishing an Energize NY Finance Program that enables long-term, affordable Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects at commercial buildings and not-for-profits.
  • – Solarize. Undertaking two community-based Solarize campaigns (in Warwick- Goshen and Countywide) to reduce solar installation project costs through joint purchasing.

After NYSERDA approves a community’s four actions, the community can submit a grant application online for additional clean energy project funding. Orange County received a Block 3 award. They plan on using the funding to support the work of the Mid-Hudson Sustainability Coalition.

“NYSERDA’s Clean Energy Communities program helps further the County’s goals of reducing energy consumption and encouraging clean energy use in our community,” said David Church, Orange County’s Commissioner of Planning. “This initiative builds upon, and complements, the County’s DEC Climate Smart Community Certification, the first in New York and received in 2013 and is consistent with the goals of the County’s Comprehensive and Mid-Hudson Sustainability Plans.”

Mohawk Valley Communities Exploring LED Street Light Conversions

The Mohawk Valley Economic Development District (MVEDD) and Courtney Strong, Inc. co-hosted the LED Street Lights workshop on April 11, 2018. The event was a big success for the region. There were 39 municipal officials in attendance.  It was the largest attendance MVEDD has ever had in its 52-year history!

Undertaking a LED street light conversion can help communities reduce street light energy use by as much as 65 percent, generating cost savings and emission reductions. In addition, street light projects can contribute to creating a well-lit, safer, and more attractive community. LED street lights last up to 100,000 hours and require much less maintenance than conventional ones. The opportunity to incorporate smart, connected technology such as dimming functions, enhanced law enforcement response, and parking management offers a world of possibilities. Even those communities that do not own their streetlights have options for converting those in their jurisdiction to LED.

Converting street lights to energy efficient LED technology is one of the 10 High Impact Actions to help your community earn a Clean Energy Community designation.

Casey Mastro, Energy Manager- CNY for the New York Power Authority, speaks to attendees about NYPA’s street lighting program. 

The workshop provided an overview of the Clean Energy Communities program by the Mohawk Valley CEC coordinator, Dan Sullivan and presenters covered a variety of topics:

  • Overview of the Mid-Hudson Street Light Consortium by Project Lead, Pat Courtney Strong
  • Economics of Owning vs. Renting LED Street Lights by Jen Metzger, Council Member, Town of Rosendale (Ulster County), and Regulatory Lead, Mid-Hudson Street Light Consortium (MHSC)
  • Procurement, Technology and Design Best Practices by George Woodbury, MHSC Technical Lead and President, LightSmart Consulting LLC
  • The New York Power Authority Street Light Projectby Casey Mastro, New York Power Authority
  • Case Studies from communities that converted to LEDs: Village of Ilion and Village of Cherry Valley
  • Financing Considerations by Nina Orville, MHSC Finance Lead and Principal, Abundant Efficiency LLC
  • The Key Steps in Any LED Street Light Conversion

Communities have already begun exploring LED conversion opportunities. Within a week of the event, Dan Sullivan heard of communities beginning to collaborate. Todd Schwendeman from the Town of Berne Planning Board said, “the workshop provided me with lots of details to help me pursue energy and cost savings for my Town.”

If you are interested in learning more about LED street light conversions, take a look at the slides below and contact your local Clean Energy Community Coordinator. They provide free technical assistance and consulting services to local governments participating in the Clean Energy Communities program.

Download Slides

See agenda for contact information and bios

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: