SARANAC LAKE, NY — The Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) has announced that the regional nonprofit has been selected by the New York State Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to establish its new Regional Clean Energy Hubs Program in the North Country. ANCA will work closely with Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties and SUNY Canton Career Ready Education and Success Training (CREST) to administer the $4,099,404 award and bring clean energy programs and workforce development opportunities to North Country residents, homeowners, and businesses.
The project supports Governor Kathy Hochul’s nation-leading climate goals outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, as well as the State’s commitment to deliver at least 35 percent of the benefits from clean energy investments, with a goal of 40 percent, to disadvantaged communities and help advance an equitable clean energy transition for all New Yorkers.
“ANCA is honored to be partnering with Cornell Cooperative Extension and SUNY Canton CREST to serve as the Clean Energy Hub for the North Country,” said ANCA Executive Director Elizabeth Cooper. “This initiative is critical for helping North Country residents and small businesses save money on energy bills and access clean energy opportunities and jobs. Our team’s long-standing community relationships, extensive experience advancing clean energy programs, and focus on equity and inclusion will support a strong regional Hub that increases engagement in energy initiatives across northern New York.”
NYSERDA partnered with community-based organizations to establish the Clean Energy Hubs Program and provide a holistic, multidisciplinary approach to ensure that all New Yorkers have equal access to the benefits of the State’s clean energy transition.
North Country Hub partners will work together to meet the program’s goals, with a focus on expanding outreach and technical assistance, clean energy education, and the development of a clean energy workforce. Together, the North Country team offers a multifaceted perspective, experienced and knowledgeable staff, and a trusted reputation in communities across the region.
“This unique partnership enables each of the organizations involved to bring their proven experience and talents to the project,” said Patrick Ames, Executive Director at CCE of St. Lawrence County. “Extension is pleased to be a part of this important effort to provide energy outreach and resources to the residents of the North County.”
“Cornell Cooperative Extension Association of Jefferson County is excited to continue our work in providing education on available NYSERDA energy programs to residents living and working across the North Country region,” said Stephanie Graf, Youth, Family and Community Development Program Leader at CCE Jefferson County.
Four community-based Energy Advisors, under the direction of ANCA and CCE of Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties, will work directly with residents and small businesses who could benefit from state and federal programs and projects that can significantly reduce energy costs and improve health and safety — like heating system upgrades, weatherization and lighting upgrades.
The Energy Navigator program, implemented by CCE of St. Lawrence County, will provide energy-related education to North Country residents using a train-the-trainer model. Trained volunteers and staff will help address common misconceptions around energy efficiency and renewable energy and provide information about current energy research and technology.
The North Country Hub will draw from SUNY Canton CREST’s workforce development expertise by providing resources, curriculum and wrap-around services that support and strengthen the region’s clean energy workforce. Informed by extensive regional analysis and stakeholder outreach, the partnership will develop and expand accessible educational opportunities for this growing jobs market.
ANCA will utilize staff and expertise from multiple program areas, including its Center for Pandemic Response (ANCA CPR), Food Systems and Entrepreneurial Economy Programs, and the Adirondack Diversity Initiative, to support the Hub’s efforts. While ANCA serves 14 counties, its Clean Energy Program has strong community ties in the seven Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) counties that comprise the North Country Hub. ANCA already coordinates clean energy projects in these counties, including NYSERDA‘s Clean Energy Communities and Climate Smart Communities programs.
For more than 50 years, CCE of Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties have been providing programs to marginalized communities, including energy, parenting, nutrition and 4-H afterschool programming, and SUNY Canton CREST has a long history of offering workforce development training and helping people advance careers and maintain professional certifications.
Twelve regional Hubs across New York State were selected through a competitive process to advance an inclusive green economy that focuses on:
Delivering community-based engagement, outreach and consumer awareness of clean energy technologies and opportunities;
Coordinating programs and funding resources to increase participation in clean energy projects;
Conducting equitable stakeholder engagement to incorporate community perspectives and increase public input into NYSERDA‘s program, policy, and strategy development;
Increasing local capacity to engage with community residents about clean energy policy, technologies, and opportunities;
Advancing diversity in the clean energy workforce by working with NYSERDA, trade unions, and training providers to help clean energy businesses connect with and hire individuals from priority populations or disadvantaged communities, and increase the number and diversity of participating contractors in the clean energy sector;
Establishing strategic partnerships across the clean energy ecosystem in a particular region to benefit disadvantaged or underserved communities; and
Advancing local projects that address regional barriers that prevent disadvantaged communities from participating in or benefiting from the clean energy economy.
“The Clean Energy Hub’s innovative and holistic approach will help bring real economic and environmental benefits to North Country families,” said Jill Henck, ANCA‘s Clean Energy Program Director. “ANCA is honored to be leading this truly collaborative effort in our rural region, where we are committed to supporting a just and equitable transition to a clean energy economy. We are grateful to NYSERDA and our partners at Cornell Cooperative Extension and SUNY Canton CREST for bringing this program and its benefits to communities across the region.”
This winter, ANCA will launch a new website where Hub partners will share resources, events and programs related to clean energy, energy efficiency and workforce development. For more information about the Regional Clean Energy Hub of the North Country, contact Erin Griffin, ANCA‘s Clean Energy Hub Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (518) 891-6200, ext. 106.
ANCA is an independent, nonprofit corporation with a transformational approach to building prosperity across northern New York. Using innovative strategies for food systems, clean energy, small businesses, and equity and inclusion, ANCA delivers targeted interventions that create and sustain wealth and value in local communities.
Photo at top: Adirondack North Country Association website photo.