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City of Syracuse Named Clean Energy Community for Commitment to Cut Costs and Reduce Energy Consumpt

The City of Syracuse today announced it has been designated a Clean Energy Community by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), recognizing the city’s leadership in reducing energy use, cutting costs, and driving clean energy locally.

Announced by Governor Cuomo in August 2016, the $16 million Clean Energy Communities initiative supports local government leaders across the state by providing grants to eligible municipalities to implement energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable development projects in their communities. Clean Energy Communities advances the Governor’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) strategy by demonstrating the importance of communities in helping New York reach its Clean Energy Standard mandate of having half of the state’s electricity coming from renewable energy resources by 2030.

Syracuse received the designation for completing four high-impact clean energy actions identified by NYSERDA as part of the Clean Energy Communities initiative. In addition, the designation gives the City an opportunity to apply for up to $150,000 toward additional clean energy projects, with no local cost share.

“We want to lead by example and be more energy efficient, use renewable energy, and encourage more sustainable development,” said Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh. “These steps would be a lot harder to take without the help of Governor Cuomo and the assistance of NYSERDA.”

“I applaud the City of Syracuse for its actions incorporating renewable energy and energy efficiency into the core of its operations to help cut costs and reduce energy consumption,” said Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA. “Communities across the state play a vital role in driving Governor Cuomo’s nation-leading commitments to reduce greenhouse gases, thereby ensuring a cleaner, greener New York.”

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

  1. Clean Fleets - The City is utilizing multiple compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles in the municipalfleet.

  2. Solarize Campaign with CNY Regional Planning and Development Board- This program helped local homeowners explore the viability of powering their homes with on-site solar.

  3. NYS Unified Solar Permit for rooftop solar installations- This form, available for statewide use, gives rooftop solar installers more consistency in the permitting process from one municipality to another.

  4. Benchmarking energy use for City-owned buildings- Under this ordinance, the City committed to tracking energy use for City-owned and occupied buildings and will post performance data to its website every year.

“This is a real point of pride,” said Common Councilor Joe Driscoll, Fifth District. “It shows that when we put our minds to do something and work together, we can make real progress. We picked these four actions not because they were easy but because they are areas in which the city can make a real difference. I look forward to what we will achieve next.”

“We are proud to have assisted the City of Syracuse to earn designation as a Clean Energy Community. We applaud Mayor Walsh for his leadership and his team for moving through the program in only three months,” said Chris Carrick, Energy Program Manager, Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board. “By taking this step, Syracuse demonstrates its commitment to sustainability and joins 23 other municipalities across the five-county region that have earned this designation. These communities represent over half of the region’s population, showing once again that Central New York values its natural resources and the quality of life of our residents."

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 and 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.

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

  • Providing energy code enforcement training to code officers.

  • Implementing Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) so residents can gain greater choice and control over energy use a group.

  • Earning Climate Smart Communities Certification through the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for developing a comprehensive program to reduce its carbon footprint and improve the environment.

  • Performing energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to municipal buildings.

  • 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.

  • Converting streetlights to energy efficient LED technology.

Once all funding is exhausted for large or small/medium categories in a region, local governments designated a Clean Energy Community are eligible to apply for a $5,000 grant, on a first-come, first-serve basis until such funds are exhausted.

Clean Energy Community Coordinators are also available at no charge to help 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 Local government officials or employees can find contact information for their respective coordinator here for assistance navigating the program.

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