NYSERDA Announces Cayuga County Earns Clean Energy Community Designation

County is Recognized for its Commitment to Reduce Energy Consumption, Cut Costs and Drive Clean Energy in its Communities

May 15, 2017

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) today announced that Cayuga County has been designated a Clean Energy Community, recognizing its leadership in reducing energy use, cutting costs and driving clean energy in its communities. This designation is supported by the Central NY Rising initiative which is the overall regional plan designed to attract a talented workforce, grow business and drive innovation.

Announced by Governor Andrew M. 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 Vision (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.

Cayuga County 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 the County 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 Cayuga County for its active leadership in reducing energy use and driving the integration of clean energy across the community. As the state advances Governor Cuomo’s aggressive energy goals, communities are playing a critical role ensuring a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy future for all New Yorkers.”

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

  • Developed a community-based Solarize campaign to reduce solar project costs through joint purchasing, resulting in 33 residential installations totaling over 8 megawatts of clean energy
  • Deployed alternative fuel vehicles in the County’s vehicle fleet
  • Established an Energize NY Finance Program that enables long-term, affordable Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects to assist owners of commercial property investing in clean energy upgrades to their buildings
  • Adopted benchmarking policies, in collaboration with students from SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry, to track and report energy use at municipal buildings

“Cayuga County is excited to be designated as a Clean Energy Community and to have the opportunity to receive funding support from NYSERDA for locally identified projects,” said Keith Batman, Chairman, Cayuga County Legislature. “We are in the process of establishing our priorities for funding and look forward to receipt of the funds to support our further work to implement these projects in our County.”

Cayuga County has a long history of clean energy leadership with the adoption of a Comprehensive Sustainability Energy and Development Plan; the installation of geothermal systems at Memorial City Hall, Auburn Police and Fire Station; and the establishment of the Cayuga County Public Utility Services Agency.

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

  • Performing energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to municipal buildings
  • Completing energy code enforcement training on best practices in energy code enforcement for code compliance officers and other municipal officials
  • 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
  • Replacing streetlights with energy efficient LED lighting

Cities, counties, towns and villages that complete at least four of ten 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.

Accelerating Central NY Rising

Today's announcement complements “Central NY Rising,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested nearly $3 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan – capitalizing on global market opportunities, strengthening entrepreneurship and creating an inclusive economy. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Syracuse, Oswego and Auburn as a destination to grow and invest in.

Now, the region is accelerating Central NY Rising with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 5,900 new jobs. More information is available here.

About Clean Energy Fund

The 10-year, $5.3 billion Clean Energy Fund 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 reduce ratepayer collections, drive economic development, and accelerate the use of clean energy and energy innovation. It includes a minimum of $234 million in funding over the first three years to support clean energy opportunities specifically to benefit low- to moderate-income communities throughout the State. The CEF also supports the 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 and requiring 50 percent of the state's electricity needs be generated from renewable energy by 2030. Already, REV has driven a nearly 800 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, installation 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.

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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