NYSERDA Announces Lewis County is First Community in North Country Region to Earn Clean Energy Community Designation

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

June 29, 2017

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) today announced that Lewis County is the first community in the North Country Region designated a Clean Energy Community, recognizing its leadership in reducing energy use, cutting costs and driving clean energy adoption 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.

Lewis 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 Lewis County an opportunity to apply for up to $100,000 toward additional clean energy projects, with no local cost share. There are currently more than 70 Clean Energy Communities across New York State.

Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA, said, “Congratulations to Lewis County for driving broader adoption of renewables and clean technologies to reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, the state is empowering municipal and community leaders to take control of their clean energy future and create more sustainable communities.”

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

  • Deployed an alternative fuel vehicle and an electric vehicle charging station to encourage clean transportation options.
  • Approved an energy benchmarking policy to track and report energy use in the County’s municipal buildings.
  • Adopted the New York State Unified Solar Permit to streamline the approvals process for local solar projects.
  • Completed energy code enforcement training on best practices in energy code enforcement for code compliance officers and other municipal officials.

“Lewis County is proud and excited to be the first community in the North Country Region to obtain the CEC designation,” said Liz Swearingin, Lewis County Manager. “We are committed to striking the right balance between clean energy, a rural farming community and the natural beauty of our county which makes it a focal point for upstate tourism. This NYSERDA designation adds to the many other initiatives we have undertaken such as a two-megawatt solar farm and a New York State green infrastructure project which included LED lighting.”

Lewis County is also currently in the design phase of a new state-of-the-art all-natural-gas heating boiler system at the County’s Department of Social Services building. The new boiler will replace an inefficient 30 year- old system and is expected to reduce more than 11,000 pounds of CO2 emissions annually.

"We applaud Lewis County for demonstrating leadership in the North Country by achieving Clean Energy Communities designation, says Amanda Lavigne, Energy Program Director at the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA). As the North Country's CEC Outreach Coordinator, ANCA is pleased to be working with NYSERDA to bring the significant cost-savings and sustainability benefits of sustainable clean energy to our region."

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.
  • Implementing 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.
  • Establishing 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.
  • Converting streetlights to energy efficient LED technology.

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 for assistance navigating the program.

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.

About the 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. The CEF includes a focused effort to bring more clean energy opportunities and benefits to low- to moderate-income communities and 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 is already delivering for New Yorkers. NY Green Bank, a core component of the CEF, has generated $2.7 million in positive net income as a result of $291.6 million in investments in clean energy transactions across New York – one year ahead of schedule. By generating revenue in excess of expenses, NY Green Bank’s positive net income will be re-invested for future transactions. Its $1 billion NY-Sun initiative has already helped facilitate an 800 percent increase in solar deployment over five years – while reducing customer collections by $1.5 billion by 2025. The CEF supports New York's aggressive Clean Energy Standard requiring 50 percent of the state's electricity to 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 generating 50 percent of the state's electricity needs 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, 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.

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