Tag Archives: nyserda

“Reforming the Energy Vision” Moves Consumer Experience to Center Stage

Major changes are in store for the electricity-consuming public in New York State. In April, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the Reforming the Energy Vision initiative, which directs the New York State Public Service Commission to move the State’s utilities to a more decentralized structure.

Now known simply as REV, the initiative envisions that customer-side resources will become primary tools in the planning and operation of the State utility system. This will improve system efficiency and enable the deployment of cleaner and more resilient technologies, according to the report written by Department of Public Service staff to propose REV.

“As the Commission undertakes the dramatic transformation envisioned here…customers’ roles and opportunities will change as they become partners in problem solving and active participants in markets,” PSC staff wrote in the report.

Here are three key points made in the REV report:

• Many residential customers “with average usage levels saw their winter electric bills increased by over 80 percent,” according to the report, which acknowledges that the devastating impact on many consumers needs urgent attention before next winter.
• The REV initiative will lead to regulatory changes that promote more efficient use of energy, deeper penetration of renewable energy resources such as wind and solar, and wider deployment of distributed energy resources, including microgrids, on-site power supplies and storage. It will promote greater use of advanced energy management products to improve demand efficiencies.
• These changes will empower customers by allowing them more choice in how they manage and consume electric energy.

The REV proceeding will advance on two tracks:

o The first will examine the utilities’ role in enabling market-based deployment of distributed energy resources to promote load management and greater system efficiency, including peak load reductions.
o The second will look toward changes in regulatory, tariff and market designs and incentive structures to better align utility interests with achieving the REV policy objectives.

The REV report is available at http://tinyurl.com/pym6p4v

PSC’s Zibelman Leads REV Effort

Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) is the first major policy initiative of Public Service Commission Chair Audrey Zibelman, who was confirmed as a PSC commissioner on June 19, 2013 and named chair on September 3, 2013. Ms. Zibelman has extensive experience in the public, private, and not-for-profit energy and electricity sectors. She is a recognized national and international expert in energy policy, markets, and smart grid innovation.

Ms. Zibelman is a founder and past president and CEO of Viridity Energy, Inc., which she formed after more than 25 years of electric utility industry leadership experience in both the public and private sectors. She has participated as both counsel and expert witness in numerous electric utility proceedings before state and federal regulatory and legislative bodies on topics such as the benefits of power markets and smart grids to consumers. Ms. Zibelman also has served on the boards of organizations responsible for assuring the security and reliability of the nation’s power system, including Reliability First, the GridWise Alliance, and the Midwest Reliability Organization.
Previously, Ms. Zibelman was the executive vice president and CEO of PJM, a regional transmission organization that operates the world’s largest wholesale power market and serves 14 states throughout the eastern United States. She also held executive positions at Xcel Energy, served as general counsel to the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission, and as Special Assistant Attorney General in the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office.

Innovative Financing Program Launches for New York State Energy Projects

The Energy Improvement Corporation (EIC), a New York State public benefit corporation now offers low-cost, long-term financing to commercially owned buildings undergoing energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades.IMAG3381

Energize NY kicked off the first in a series of training events on Tuesday, January 14th, to inform Westchester stakeholders about a brand new financing option for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in commercially owned buildings. Using the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loan structure, “Energize NY Finance” will make comprehensive energy retrofits and renewable energy improvements more economically feasible than ever before, for properties across New York State.

Energize NY’s training event attracted top engineering firms and energy efficiency contractors that do business in Westchester. A panel comprised of representatives from the NYSERDA, Westchester County Dept. of Planning, Sustainable Real Estate Solutions, and EIC endorsed Energize NY Finance, encouraging service providers to offer the new financing option to their clients, to help them save the most energy dollars.

“Energize NY’s PACE financing product creates an exciting new opportunity for NYSERDA’s Multifamily Performance Program and the services offered to customers through our Multifamily Performance Partners,” said John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, NYSERDA. “The product is a new tool that Multifamily Performance Partners can use to help owners of multifamily buildings overcome barriers to financing so they can implement projects that save energy and reduce operating costs. It will help New York State stimulate the growth of the clean energy economy, which Governor Cuomo has cited as a priority.”

Energize NY also offers even lower cost financing opportunities for affordable housing and not-for-profits, exclusively in Westchester. At least $4 million in Qualified Energy Conservation Bond (QECB) capital is accessible to multifamily buildings with low-income tenants, and not-for-profit owned buildings. “Loans are only approved if the energy savings from a proposed project will save more over time than the money invested in the project,” says Joe Del Sindaco, Treasurer of EIC, “Property owners will be cash-flow positive from day one.”

“We are excited to celebrate the launch of Energize NY PACE program. The program will create local private sector jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by making innovative PACE financing available to building owners in the state,” says David Gabrielson, PACE Now’s Executive Director.

Energize NY Finance training events will be held for the next several months, to inform property owners and the energy efficiency specialists who serve them. To find out about upcoming trainings, or learn more about Energize NY, please contact the office at (914) 302-7300 or visit Energize NY.


EIC is a local development corporation established to assist municipalities and property owners achieve long-term energy savings and/or generate renewable power for use on site. Energize NY Finance provides an alternative to traditional loans, by providing an innovative form of financing called Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing. For more information, please contact Energize NY at (914) 302-7300 or info@EnergizeNY.org, or visit Commercial.EnergizeNY.org.


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NYSERDA Can Help Hudson Valley Beer and Spirits Producers Learn to Sip Energy


Since the late 1990s, the craft brewing, distilling, and brewpub industry has boomed across the U.S.  The Brewers Association estimates that more than 400 craft breweries opened nationwide last year, and according to a white paper by Michael Kinstlick, co-founder of Hudson Valley-based Coppersea Distillers, LLC, New York has the third most active craft distillers in the nation.  The Mid-Hudson’s Regional Economic Development Council identified the food and beverage industry as one of the sectors that drive the local economy and should be fostered.

While these artisans create jobs and opportunity to sample unique and locally-sourced beer and spirits, they are also energy-intense operations with high utility costs.  The leading energy uses in distilleries and breweries are refrigeration, making hot water for production, and packing processes. In brewpubs, food preparation and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) lead the list.

Like nearly all other businesses in New York State, distilleries, breweries, and brewpubs can benefit from many best practices for energy efficiency and conservation that can be easily incorporated into daily operations.  Many can also benefit from adopting efficient technologies to produce energy.  These strategies can reduce operating expenses and increase income while reducing a company’s environmental footprint.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) commercial and industrial energy efficiency and renewable energy programs can help.  Businesses can utilize the Flex Tech and Industrial and Process Efficiency (IPE) programs to identify beneficial and cost-effective strategies.  Businesses with annual electric demand lower than 100kW and with less than 10 employees can take advantage of the free Small Commercial Energy Assessment program.

Established businesses can take advantage of NYSERDA’s Existing Facilities Program to help pay for upgrades to equipment, including more efficiency motors, variable frequency drives (VFDs), HVAC equipment, refrigerators, and lighting.  The New Construction Program can help newcomers – or those planning to move or expand operations – create energy-sipping facilities.

These production facilities are also often great candidates for renewable energy installations.  A solar thermal system can help make the large quantity of hot water used in brewing and distilling process, and can sit alongside a solar PV system or wind turbine to generate electricity.  Businesses with access to natural gas service can take advantage of support for installation of an efficient Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system that produces electricity and steam.

Producers and sellers of alcohol encourage their customers to drink their products responsibly.  With NYSERDA’s help, New York State’s burgeoning beer and spirits producers can learn to do the same with energy.

So Many Programs, So Many Benefits

There’s a NYSERDA program for almost everyone. Whether you’re looking to build a new, efficient facility; improve the efficiency of an existing building; deploy a renewable energy system; develop a new technology; or improve the economic development and environmental well-being of your community, there’s likely something for you.

To help you find the program – or programs – that could help achieve your goals, Courtney Strong, Inc. is offering a series of short, focused “Did You Know …?” webinars.  Our next webinar is targeted to municipal and county leaders, identifying programs that help identify energy and cost saving opportunities, and that support sustainability and resiliency planning and code development, including the Cleaner, Greener Communities program.


Future webinars:

  • November 19 – Savings Opportunities for Municipalities and Counties Register
  • December 17 – NYSERDA’s Solar and Lighting programs
  • January 21 – Emerging Technologies

To learn more, register for our series here

The Beauty of … Finance


For many customers, NYSERDA’s Green Jobs – Green New York program promotes energy efficiency and the use of clean technologies to reduce both energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions through:

  • Free or reduced-cost energy assessments.
  • Cash incentives for energy-saving improvements.
  • Access to low-cost financing.

Too often, the last of these incentives is overlooked.  Homeowners, small businesses, not-for-profits, and folks with multifamily buildings can take advantage of NYSERDA’s financing programs, which can be the key to unlocking their savings potential.

For small business owners and not-for-profits, it starts with a Small Commercial Energy Assessment – a walk-through that identifies energy saving measures.  Cash incentives can cover a portion of cost associated with many of the measures identified.  The remaining costs – often the majority of the total – can be financed by one of two low-interest loan options. of two low-interest loan options.

In the Participation Loan Program, NYSERDA partners with lenders across New York State to offer loans up to $50,000 at half of market rate.  NYSERDA provides 50% of the loan at 0% interest.

This program is also available to multifamily property owners, to a maximum of $5,000 per unit or $500,000 per energy-saving project.  This innovative arrangement benefits both borrowers, who receive interest rates at about half the market rate for loans up to $1 million, and lenders, who can open new relationships at reduced risk.

Thanks to a law passed in 2010, NYSERDA offers On Bill Recovery Financing. This exciting program makes it possible for small businesses and not-for-profits to use the savings on their energy bills to pay for their energy efficiency upgrades. This “cash-positive” program is structured so that the expected monthly savings are larger than the payments a customer makes on the loan.  Plus, the loan is tied to the property; if a building owner sells the property, the monthly savings and payments transfer to the new owner.

To read more about these programs, including eligibility and participation requirements, go to NYSERDA’s Green Jobs – Green New York page.

Random Acts of Kindness: How Energy Pros Think Globally, Act Locally


The Woodstock Jewish Congregation

The Woodstock Jewish Congregation

J Spiotta on roof 3344

Jason Spiotta, Todd Koelmel and crew install panels at the synagogue.

When Rabbi Jonathan Kligler had solar panels installed on his home several years ago, it crossed his mind that it would be a great thing to do at the Woodstock synagogue he has led for 20-plus years. But times are tight, and it certainly wasn’t in the budget. Then as summer 2013 approached, Woodstock business owners Jason Spiotta and Todd Koelmel of SOLAR Generation offered to install a 10-kW solar panel system free of labor charges. The synagogue was thrilled to accept, said Kligler.

Incentives from the New York State Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) and falling panel prices (due to overproduction abroad) brought the materials cost down dramatically. The project got under way this summer. After a mid-September ribbon cutting and system commissioning, the congregation anticipates a 60 percent reduction in the building’s future electric bills.

Why did Koelmel and Spiotta do it?

“From when we started in 2005, we always thought it was important to help our community,” said Spiotta. “And we believe it’s important for people to see solar as the norm, not the exception.”

Melinda and Bill McKnight

Melinda and Bill McKnight of Energy Conservation Specialists at the Ulster County veterans’ home, 67 Wurts St., Kingston.

Just down the road, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein announced in July that the county would renovate a donated house at 67 Wurts Street in the Rondout section of Kingston, to provide transitional housing for veterans. The former state-owned building had been vacant for some time, so a renovation plan was developed by architect Scott Dutton. As with many older homes, the building seemed to have little insulation and had other challenges. Enter Bill and Melinda McKnight, whose West Hurley business, Energy Conservation Specialists, has been helping Hudson Valley homeowners save energy and money for the past several years. The McKnights donated an energy assessment of the property as well as some key tests to assure air quality. Why did they do it?

“Volunteering our time, we believe, is part of our responsibility both individually and as a company,”

A blower door test was performed at 67 Wurts Street to gauge heat and cooling loss from the building.

A blower door test was performed at 67 Wurts Street to gauge heat and cooling loss from the building.

said Melinda McKnight. “Veterans are our neighbors, co-workers, friends and family members. When we see an opportunity to help veterans, we make an extra effort to do so.”

SOLAR Generation and Energy Conservation Specialists are just two NYSERDA-eligible contractors doing great work in our communities. To find contractors eligible to do NYSERDA-assisted projects, see Find a NYSERDA contractor.

Know of someone who’s giving back to their community while promoting clean energy? Write us at info@courtneystrong.com.