Governor Cuomo Announces Town of Ulysses as First Town in the Southern Tier to Earn the Clean Energy Community Designation

Supports New York's Goal of 50 percent of Electricity to Come from Renewable Sources by 2030

August 29, 2017

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the Town of Ulysses is the first town in the Southern Tier to be designated a Clean Energy Community, recognizing its leadership in reducing energy use, cutting costs and driving clean energy in its communities. This announcement complements Southern Tier Soaring, the regional economic blueprint aimed at attracting a talented workforce, growing business and driving innovation.

"New York has established itself as a national leader in reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions and I applaud the Town of Ulysses for taking actions to encourage solar and reduce its energy consumption," Governor Cuomo said. "The town serves as a model for communities across the state to reduce energy costs and create a cleaner, more sustainable future for its residents."

Announced by Governor Cuomo in August 2016, 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 strategy by demonstrating the importance of local governments and communities in helping New York reach its Clean Energy Standard mandate requiring 50 percent of the state's electricity to come from renewable energy resources by 2030.

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said, "I commend the Town of Ulysses for their designation as a Clean Energy Community. This initiative builds on Governor Cuomo's commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and cutting energy costs across the state. By tying this into the Southern Tier Soaring plan, it shows that this region understands that investing in renewable and clean energy solutions ensures a cleaner environment and stronger economy for future generations of New Yorkers."

The Town of Ulysses received the designation for completing four of 10 high-impact clean energy actions identified by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority as part of the Clean Energy Communities initiative. In addition, the designation gives the Town of Ulysses an opportunity to apply for up to $100,000 toward additional clean energy projects, with no local cost share.

Chairman of Energy and Finance for New York Richard Kauffman said, "The Clean Energy Communities initiative is helping communities transition to more sustainable energy practices, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and lowering costs. Under Governor Cuomo's nation-leading energy strategy, New York is driving clean energy solutions to help New York build its clean, resilient and affordable energy system."

Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA, said, "Congratulations to the town of Ulysses on this important accomplishment and for serving as an environmental role model for communities across New York State. Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, we are empowering community leaders to take control of their clean energy future by driving broader adoption of energy efficiency, renewables, and other clean technologies."

The Town of Ulysses completed the following high-impact clean energy actions:

  • Participated in a community-based Solarize Tompkins campaign to reduce solar project costs through joint purchasing;
  • Completed energy code enforcement training on best practices in energy code enforcement for code compliance officers and other municipal officials;
  • Streamlined local approval processes for solar projects through adoption of the New York State Unified Solar Permit; and
  • Benchmarked energy use of the Town's municipal buildings.

Senator Tom O'Mara said, "Encouraging clean energy practices is important to meeting the energy demands of our communities in the Southern Tier and beyond. I applaud the Town of Ulysses for demonstrating their commitment to investing in clean energy alternatives, and I urge other communities across the state to follow the example set by the town."

Assemblymember Barbara Lifton said, "By reducing our energy consumption today, we help secure a safe and healthy future for our children for years to come. The Town of Ulysses has set a great example with its efforts to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and I know that other cities and towns across New York State will follow suit to ensure a clean tomorrow for all."

"Working toward Clean Energy Community designation emphasized the importance of collaboration, strong partnerships, and a willing staff," said Town of Ulysses Supervisor Elizabeth Thomas. "As a small community with few resources, we found the support of the Clean Energy Community coordinator was immensely valuable in taking the time to guide us and provide answers to our questions. Our town is committed to reducing reliance on fossil fuels to help stem the causes of climate change by demonstrating that small municipalities can become Clean Energy Communities, too."

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

  • Performing energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to municipal buildings.
  • Converting streetlights to energy efficient LED technology.
  • Implementing Community Choice Aggregation so residents can gain greater choice and control over energy use a group
  • 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.
  • Earning Climate Smart Communities Certification through the Department of Environmental Conservation for developing a comprehensive program to reduce its carbon footprint and improve the environment.
  • Installing electric vehicle charging stations and using alternative fuel vehicles, such as hybrid and electric cars, for municipal businesses.

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. 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 here for assistance in completing the actions.

Accelerating Southern Tier Soaring

Today's announcement complements "Southern Tier Soaring," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. This initiative is focused on innovation, vigorous business growth and to creating an environment aimed at attracting the best and brightest talent to the region. The State has already invested more than $4.6 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan which includes investing in key industries such as advanced manufacturing, food and agriculture and in efforts that support the greater Binghamton innovation ecosystem. Today, unemployment across the state is near the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Binghamton, Johnson City and Corning as a destination in which to grow and invest. The $500 million "Southern Tier Soaring" Upstate Revitalization Initiative announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015 will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion - and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 10,200 new jobs. More information is available at regionalcouncils.ny.gov/content/southern-tier.

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 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.