- By New York State Governor's Office
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced Wednesday more than 200 communities across the state have earned the Clean Energy Community designation, completing more than 1,250 total high-impact clean energy actions. The designation recognizes community leadership in reducing energy use, cutting costs and driving clean energy, all supporting the state's clean energy goals. The Clean Energy Community initiative advances the Governor's Reforming the Energy Vision strategy by demonstrating the importance of communities in helping New York achieve the state's goal to supply 50 percent of its electricity from renewable energy resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030.
"New York is a national leader in combating climate change, and this significant milestone demonstrates that communities in every corner of this great state are committed to our efforts to create a more sustainable future," Cuomo said. "These 200 communities serve as a model for cities and towns across this state and this nation to reduce energy use and preserve our environment for generations to come."
Announced by Cuomo in August 2016, the $16 million Clean Energy Communities initiative supports local governments across the state by providing grants to eligible municipalities to implement energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable development projects in their communities.
"Communities across the state are undergoing projects to help cut costs and support clean energy," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "More than 200 communities in New York have earned the Clean Energy Community designation, further advancing our aggressive clean energy goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. New York is leading in our efforts to combat climate change, and municipalities statewide are helping to make sure our environment is clean and safe now and for future generations."'
Overall, the 1,255 high-impact clean energy action items were completed by communities representing more than 86 percent of the state's population in 60 counties and all 10 Economic Development Council regions. Some of the largest communities across New York State have been designated Clean Energy Communities, including the City of New York, Albany County, St. Lawrence County, Suffolk County and the Town of Hempstead. View a map showing Clean Energy Communities, actions completed and communities engaged in the Clean Energy Communities initiative.
More than 450 communities are participating in the Clean Energy Communities initiative and have completed at least one high-impact action. The following table highlights participation in each region of the state:
|Region||Designated Clean Energy Communities||Participating Communities (Completed At Least One Clean Energy Action Item)||Clean Energy Actions Completed|
|Central New York||26||84||201|
|New York City||1||1||5|
|Western New York||25||49||141|
The Clean Energy Communities initiative was recently honored as a recipient of the Clean Energy States Alliance 2018 State Leadership in Clean Energy Award. Clean Energy Communities was one of six programs nationwide to win the 2018 award for its outstanding accomplishments with public benefits and results, cost effectiveness, leadership and innovation, and replicability.
Assembly Energy Chairman Michael Cusick said, "Encouraging communities to use clean energy alternatives is an important step toward reaching our State's energy goals. By investing in green energy products, we are creating a more sustainable future for the next generation of New Yorkers to building a cleaner, more resilient New York for all. I'm encouraged by these results and look forward to seeing more communities implement clean energy practices."
Cities, counties, towns and villages that complete at least four of 10 high-impact clean energy actions are designated as Clean Energy Communities and are eligible to apply for funding of up to $250,000 to finance additional clean energy projects. Areas with fewer than 40,000 residents are eligible to apply for up to $100,000 in funding. NYSERDA is accepting applications for funding on a rolling basis through September 30, 2019 or until funds are exhausted, whichever comes first. Grant funds are being provided as part of the Clean Energy Fund and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
The 10 High Impact Actions local governments can to take to earn a Clean Energy Community designation and qualify to apply for grant funding include:
- Benchmarking energy use at municipal and large privately-owned buildings;
- Performing energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to municipal buildings;
- Replacing street lights with energy-efficient LED lighting;
- Streamlining local approval processes for solar projects through adoption of the NYS Unified Solar Permit;
- Undertaking a community-based Solarize campaign to reduce solar project costs through joint purchasing;
- Providing energy code enforcement training to code officers;
- Earning Climate Smart Communities Certification by reducing the community's impact on the environment;
- Passing a local law to allow aggregation of residents to gain greater choice and control over energy use as a group (called Community Choice Aggregation);
- Installing electric vehicle charging stations and using alternative fuel vehicles, such as electric cars, for municipal business; and
- Establishing an Energize NY Finance Program that enables long-term, affordable Property Assessed Clean Energy financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects at commercial buildings and not-for-profits.
Clean Energy Community Coordinators are also available at no charge to help communities 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.