NYSERDA Announces Smithtown is First Community on Long Island to Earn Clean Energy Community Designation

Suffolk County town recognized for its commitment to reduce energy consumption, cut costs and drive clean energy in its communities

December 14, 2016

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) today announced that Smithtown is the first community in Long Island to be designated a Clean Energy Community, recognizing its leadership in reducing energy use, cutting costs and driving clean energy in its communities.

Announced by Governor Cuomo in August, 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.

Smithtown received the designation for completing four of 10 high-impact clean energy actions identified by NYSERDA as part of the Clean Energy Communities initiative. In addition, the designation gives Smithtown an opportunity to apply for up to $250,000 toward additional clean energy projects, with no local cost share.

John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, NYSERDA, said, "Congratulations to Smithtown on this significant accomplishment and for its active leadership in reducing energy use and driving clean energy across the community. As the State advances Governor Cuomo's REV strategy, communities are playing a critical role to ensuring a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy future for all New Yorkers."

To earn the Clean Energy Community designation, Smithtown completed the following high-impact clean energy actions:

  • Converted more than 11,000 streetlights to energy efficient LED technology.
  • Deployed alternative fuel vehicles in the town's municipal fleet.
  • Completed energy code enforcement training on best practices in energy code enforcement for code compliance officers and other municipal officials.
  • Adopted the New York State Unified Solar Permit to streamline the approvals process for local solar projects.

In November, Ulster County in the Mid-Hudson Region, was announced as the first Clean Energy Community in the State.

"I am grateful to Governor Cuomo and NYSERDA for recognizing our efforts and for promoting the use of clean energy," said Patrick R. Vecchio, Smithtown Town Supervisor. "The science is clear, we must reduce our carbon emissions or our children and grandchildren will suffer. We have the technology: solar, wind, high efficiency lighting and alternative fuel vehicles. The beauty of these things is that they are better for the environment and can actually save us money. They're right for us now and right for the future of our children."

"PSEG Long Island's partnership with NYSERDA to bring the Clean Energy Communities initiative to Long Island and the Rockaways is creating a cleaner, greener and healthier future for all of our customers," said Michael Voltz, director of energy efficiency and renewables, PSEG Long Island. "The Town of Smithtown, the first community on Long Island to receive the Clean Energy Community designation, has made considerable investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy to further their already laudable record of commitment to a cleaner environment. We are proud to continue to work with Smithtown and look forward to working with other communities across our service territory to help them implement clean energy actions and save money for their residents."

Smithtown has a long history of clean energy leadership, particularly in the area of alternative fuel vehicles. In 2006, it was the first town outside of California to require its private refuse fleet to be 100% compressed natural gas (CNG)-fueled. Smithtown has also made the switch to alternative fuel vehicles for many of its municipal vehicles including cars, trucks, snowplows, street sweepers, and shuttle buses. As an early adopter of LED technology, the town has also completed upgrades of municipal buildings and facilities to improve energy efficiency. A 50 kilowatt solar array and a 10 kilowatt wind turbine were also installed at the Town Recycling Center.

Additional clean energy action items communities can take to achieve designation include:

  • Benchmarking energy use at municipal and large privately owned buildings
  • Performing energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to municipal buildings
  • Undertaking a community-based Solarize campaign to reduce solar project costs through joint purchasing
  • 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)
  • 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.

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 also 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.

For more information on Clean Energy Communities, visit www.nyserda.ny.gov/cec. Local government officials or employees can find contact information for their respective coordinator here for assistance navigating the program.

About Clean Energy Fund

The 10-year, $5.3 billion Clean Energy Fund (CEF) is a core component of New York State's Reforming the Energy Vision strategy to achieve a clean, resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers. It is designed to deliver on New York State's commitment to accelerate the use of clean energy and energy innovation and drive economic development, while reducing ratepayer collections. It includes a focused effort to bring more clean energy opportunities and benefits to low- to moderate-income communities throughout the State. The CEF supports New York's aggressive Clean Energy Standard, which requires that 50 percent of the State's electricity come from renewable energy sources by 2030.

About the Regional Greenhouse Gas initiative (RGGI)

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is the nation's first program to use an innovative market-based mechanism to cap and cost-effectively reduce the carbon dioxide emissions that cause the climate to change, and New York State took a leadership role in adopting regulations that lowered the emissions cap. Emissions from power plants in New York State are down approximately 45 percent since 2005, and auction proceeds from sale of the RGGI allowances have reduced electricity expenditures and created thousands of green energy sector jobs.

About Reforming the Energy Vision

Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) is Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's strategy to lead on climate change and grow New York's economy. REV is building a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers by stimulating investment in clean technologies like solar, wind, and energy efficiency, in part through the recent adoption of New York's Clean Energy Standard which requires that 50% of the state's electricity needs be generated from renewable energy sources by 2030. Already, REV has driven 600% growth in the statewide solar market, enabled over 105,000 low-income households to permanently cut their energy bills with energy efficiency, and created thousands of jobs in manufacturing, engineering, and other clean tech sectors. REV is ensuring New York State reduces statewide greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030 and achieves the internationally-recognized target of reducing emissions 80% by 2050. To learn more about REV, including the Governor's $5.3 billion investment in clean energy technology and innovation, please visit www.ny.gov/REV4NY and follow us at @Rev4NY.

About NYSERDA

NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect the environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York State since 1975. To learn more about NYSERDA’s programs and funding opportunities, visit nyserda.ny.gov or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram.

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