NYSERDA Announces New Castle is First Small Community in New York State to Earn Clean Energy Community Designation

First community in Westchester County recognized for its commitment to reduce energy consumption, cut costs and drive clean energy in its communities

January 18, 2017

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) today announced that New Castle is the first small community (fewer than 40,000 residents) in New York State and first community in Westchester County 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.

New Castle 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 New Castle an opportunity to apply for up to $100,000 toward additional clean energy projects, with no local cost share.

John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, NYSERDA, said, “Congratulations to New Castle on this important accomplishment and for its leadership in driving clean energy and energy efficiency across the community. Communities play a key role in Governor Cuomo’s REV strategy to ensure a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy future for all New Yorkers.”

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

  • Implemented Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) where virtually all residents and businesses in the Town pool their demand for energy and take part in a bulk purchase of 100 percent clean, renewable electricity.
  • Established an Energize NY Finance Program that enables long-term, affordable financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects at commercial buildings and not-for-profits in the Town.
  • Approved an energy benchmarking policy to track and report energy use in the Town’s municipal buildings.
  • Adopted the New York State Unified Solar Permit to streamline the approvals process for local solar projects. Ulster County, in the Mid-Hudson Region, was recently announced as the first Clean Energy Community in the State, and Smithtown was recognized as the first Clean Energy Community on Long Island.

Rob Greenstein, Supervisor of the Town of New Castle , said, “The Town of New Castle is proud to be the first community in its size range (<40,000 people) in the Mid-Hudson Region to achieve the Clean Energy Community designation. Since the adoption of the Town’s Climate Action Plan in 2011, climate change mitigation and adaptation has been a priority in the New Castle community. This designation has highlighted the importance that we place on renewable energy and sustainability. We are excited to begin to play a heightened role in the State’s attempts to reform the energy landscape of New York State and to develop well-designed, impactful clean energy projects.”

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

  • 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.
  • Completing energy code enforcement training on best practices in energy code enforcement for code compliance officers and other municipal officials.
  • Deploying alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure to encourage clean transportation options.
  • Converting streetlights to energy efficient LED technology.

Cities, counties, towns and villages with 40,000 residents or more 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. Those with fewer than 40,000 residents are eligible to apply for up to $100,000. 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 for assistance with 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 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 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 and generating 50 percent of the state's electricity needs from renewable energy by 2030. Already, REV has driven 730 percent 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 percent by 2030 and achieves the internationally-recognized target of reducing emissions 80 percent by 2050. To learn more about REV, including the Governor's $5 billion investment in clean energy technology and innovation, please visit www.ny.gov/REV4NY and follow us at @Rev4NY.

Media Inquiries