Funding Accelerate Decarbonization, Combat Climate Change and Spur Economic Growth

May 13, 2024

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced the sixth round of the Commercial and Industrial (C&I) Carbon Challenge, making $10 million available as part of Round XIV of Governor Kathy Hochul’s Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative announced [earlier today]. The C&I Carbon Challenge will accelerate decarbonization by reducing carbon emissions at commercial and industrial businesses and institutions, helping to combat climate change, and drive economic growth across the state. Today’s announcement supports New York’s nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85% by 2050.

Doreen M. Harris, President and CEO, NYSERDA said, “Building a better New York means continuing to fight climate change, and this funding opportunity is another demonstration of our commitment to transforming how we can better design, operate, and power our buildings and industrial facilities statewide. With the launch of this sixth round, the C&I Carbon Challenge will continue to provide large, non-residential energy users with resources to unlock deep decarbonization opportunities while reducing their carbon footprint and managing energy costs.”

The C&I Carbon Challenge is a competitive program that provides funding to large energy users to implement cost-effective clean energy projects that reduce carbon emissions. Eligible businesses and institutions include, but are not limited to, manufacturers, colleges, universities, health care facilities, and office building owners in New York State, as well as decarbonization solution providers working with these entities. Project proposals may employ a combination of energy or manufacturing process efficiency strategies, carbon capture technology, renewable generation, or energy storage. A variety of projects that reduce emissions are eligible, with a focus on those that electrify buildings or manufacturing equipment, capture greenhouse gas emissions, reduce industrial thermal process emissions, and/or make operational and technical changes that reduce industrial process emissions.

Through the challenge, NYSERDA will provide awards ranging from $500,000 to $3.75 million to partially offset clean energy project costs for the largest commercial and industrial energy users in the state. To be eligible, a project portfolio will need to reduce at least 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (mtCO2e) over the lifetime of the projects. The deadline to apply through the State's Consolidated Funding Application Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. (CFA) is July 31, 2024 at 4:00 p.m.

Awardees are selected based on their plans for project implementation, institutional commitment to sustainability, overall level of greenhouse gas emissions reduced, participation in federal funding programs for decarbonization, project resiliency impacts, and their potential to beneficially impact disadvantaged communities. NYSERDA’s scoring criteria provides points for greenhouse gas emission reductions that occur in designated disadvantaged communities and/or deliver benefits in such communities. In addition, Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC) will review projects and provide scores that reflect how well a project aligns with a region's goals and strategies.

The REDC process continues to support and empower regional stakeholders in developing strategic plans to harness local resources to stimulate economic development and create jobs statewide. To date, through the REDC Initiative, more than $8 billion has been awarded to more than 9,900 job creation and community development projects consistent with each region's strategic plan. Since its inception, the C&I Carbon Challenge has made 19 awards to companies and higher education institutions that will cumulatively reduce 3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, equal to 12 months of annual tailpipe emissions of 714,000 cars. In addition, it has encouraged greater interest in clean energy projects and has served to stimulate the energy efficiency market related to commercial and industrial buildings. NYSERDA expects to announce the sixth-round awards in late 2024.

Buildings are one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in New York State, and modernizing our buildings by integrating energy efficiency and electrification measures will help achieve healthier and comfortable buildings and reduce carbon pollution. NYSERDA's programs can benefit most businesses and organizations across the State, but large energy consumers have unique needs when it comes to increasing efficiency and lowering emissions. Building on New York State's support for private sector solutions to lower the cost of clean energy, the C&I Carbon Challenge gives large energy consumers the flexibility to tap into their in-house expertise to reduce their carbon footprint and control their energy costs.

Funding is available through the State's 10-year, $6 billion Clean Energy Fund.

New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan

New York State's climate agenda calls for an orderly and just transition that creates family-sustaining jobs, continues to foster a green economy across all sectors and ensures that at least 35 percent, with a goal of 40%, of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities. Guided by some of the nation’s most aggressive climate and clean energy initiatives, New York is advancing a suite of efforts – including the New York Cap-and-Invest program (NYCI) and other complementary policies – to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030 and 85% by 2050 from 1990 levels. New York is also on a path to achieving a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70% renewable energy generation by 2030, and economywide carbon neutrality by mid-century. A cornerstone of this transition is New York's unprecedented clean energy investments, including more than $28 billion in 61 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the State, $6.8 billion to reduce building emissions, $3.3 billion to scale up solar, nearly $3 billion for clean transportation initiatives and over $2 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. These and other investments are supporting more than 170,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector as of 2022 and over 3,000% growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, New York also adopted zero-emission vehicle regulations, including requiring all new passenger cars and light-duty trucks sold in the State be zero emission by 2035. Partnerships are continuing to advance New York’s climate action with more than 400 registered and more than 130 certified Climate Smart Communities, nearly 500 Clean Energy Communities, and the State’s largest community air monitoring initiative in 10 disadvantaged communities across the State to help target air pollution and combat climate change.


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 Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram.

About the Regional Economic Development Councils

The Regional Economic Development Council initiative is a key component of the State's approach to State investment and economic development. In 2011, 10 Regional Councils were established to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The Councils are public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. The Regional Councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom up approach and establishing a competitive process for State resources. Learn more at Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page..

About the Consolidated Funding Application

The Consolidated Funding Application was created to streamline and expedite the grant application process. The CFA process marks a fundamental shift in the way State resources are allocated, ensuring less bureaucracy and greater efficiency to fulfill local economic development needs. The CFA serves as the single-entry point for access to economic development funding, ensuring applicants no longer have to slowly navigate multiple agencies and sources without any mechanism for coordination. Now, economic development projects use the CFA as a support mechanism to access multiple State funding sources through one application, making the process quicker, easier, and more productive. Learn more about the CFA here Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page..