Saturday, December 30, 2023

$25 million available through NYSERDA program

Interior of a highway garage

Saranac Lake, NY — In the eight years the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) has coordinated the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) Clean Energy Communities (CEC) program for the North Country, the regional nonprofit has helped over 100 municipalities access resources and grants for projects that reduce energy use and costs. Last week, New York State launched the CEC program’s latest round, which makes available over $25 million in match-free grant funding for clean energy projects statewide. ANCA aims to help more North Country communities benefit from the updated “Clean Energy Communities 3.0.”

As CEC Coordinators for the North Country, ANCA Energy Circuit Riders (ECRs) work closely with local governments to help them access grant funding for clean energy projects and earn recognition for implementing high impact actions that increase resilience and economic opportunity in their communities. ANCA invites communities in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence Counties to participate in the latest CEC round.
“There’s been a real momentum building through each round of the CEC program,” said ANCA ECR Nancy Bernstein. “More and more municipalities are interested in completing high impact actions that reduce energy usage, save taxpayer dollars, and earn match-free grants that allow them to complete even more clean energy projects. I look forward to bringing more communities on board under CEC 3.0.”
To date, 54 North Country municipalities have received CEC designation and/or grant awards ranging from $5,000 to $250,000. ANCA has supported 99 communities in completing one or more CEC high impact action items, including energy code enforcement training, LED street lights, municipal electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, and community campaigns that promote clean energy technologies and programs.
In Jefferson County, the Village of Carthage was recently designated a NYSERDA Clean Energy Community and awarded a $5,000 grant for energy improvements. Village officials will use the funds to upgrade lighting in their public buildings with LED bulbs, beginning with its Municipal Building, which includes the clerk’s office, board room and offices, court room and offices, and the police department. Village Clerk and Treasurer Kristy O’Shaughnessy said if there is sufficient funding, they will also upgrade lighting in the department of public works buildings and the recreation building.
O’Shaughnessy said the Village hopes to decrease municipal energy use and ultimately save money for taxpayers. Communities can reduce their energy use by as much as 65% by installing energy-efficient LED lighting, a relatively easy task that reduces costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition to indoor LED conversion projects, over 80 North Country municipalities have utilized the CEC Program and ANCA’s support to install LED street lights, including the Villages of Arietta, Canton, Crown Point, Dickinson, Massena, Philadelphia, and Sackets Harbor; and Towns of Antwerp, Franklin, Malone, Plattsburgh, Tupper Lake, and Wilmington. The Towns of Fort Covington, North Elba, and North Hudson, and the Village of Lake Placid are currently converting their streetlights to LED bulbs.
The Town of Inlet will use its two $5,000 grant awards to install heat pumps in its town hall. The Hamilton County town is one of a growing number of North Country communities adopting this energy-saving heating and cooling option in their public buildings.
In 2019, Franklin County received a larger grant award as part of CEC Round 1. The county used its $150,000 award earlier this year to insulate its highway garage.
Franklin County Manager Donna Kissane said, “Franklin County is designated as a Clean Energy Community and as a result, we have received grant funding that has been very beneficial which will result in taxpayer savings. We greatly appreciate the help that ANCA has provided to us in securing additional funds through NYSERDA grants.”
On December 13, Governor Hochul announced the additional $25 million in CEC funds. “Advancing our climate and clean energy goals is a top priority as we experience the increasingly damaging impacts of climate change and extreme weather,” Hochul said in the announcement. “This initiative provides critical support to municipalities leading by example with investments in cleaner, more efficient solutions that lower energy costs while ensuring a clear path to building community-wide resiliency and a more inclusive green economy for everyone, especially for those historically underserved.”
ANCA Clean Energy Program Director Jill Henck stressed key changes in the CEC Program since its most recent Leadership Round, including a significant increase in match-free grant funding. She said it will also be easier for small communities in our rural region to access funds for direct investment in local clean energy projects.
“ANCA will be making a concerted effort to engage with North Country communities that have not previously participated in the program with a special focus on those that have been designated as disadvantaged communities by New York State. Our team will be working closely with regional stakeholders to identify more communities who could benefit the most from these incentives.”
Three ANCA ECRs coordinate NYSERDA’s CEC program in seven North Country counties by helping communities identify and prioritize energy goals and by providing support and guidance for accessing resources and grant opportunities. They are also available to help leverage other state and federal grant opportunities to increase project size and impact.
Many communities that participate in the NYSERDA Clean Energy Communities (CEC) program are also registered or certified Climate Smart Communities (CSC) administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which supports local efforts to meet the economic, social, and environmental challenges posed by climate change. ANCA assists North Country communities with both CEC and CSC programs.
Municipal leaders are encouraged to reach out to ANCA to learn more about the Clean Energy Communities Program and how their communities might qualify and apply for NYSERDA’s new round of grant funding. ANCA’s Clean Energy team can be contacted at energy@adirondack.org or 518.891.6200.
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: Franklin County’s newly-insulated highway garage funded with a $150,000 Clean Energy Communities grant. Photo provided by ANCA.

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ANCA is building prosperity across northern New York. Our programs and partnerships focus in these areas: ANCA Center for Pandemic Response, Entrepreneurial Economy, Food Systems and Energy.




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