Local governments are being encouraged by New York State with rewards and recognition for demonstrating clean energy leadership. By becoming designated as a Clean Energy Community, communities can receive grants to support additional clean energy projects. Recently, Main Street First hosted a presentation by Dan Sullivan, a Clean Energy Communities Coordinator for NYSERDA, to learn more about the program. (NYSERDA stands for New York State Energy & Research Development Authority.)
To qualify, the City must complete four of 10 high-impact actions listed by the State. Mayor Blask and the Common Council were in favor of pursuing this opportunity and quickly passed the necessary resolutions. In support of the City’s efforts, Main Street First has formed a task force to help in any way the City may ask, whether that is research, legwork, or community-driven initiatives.
The City has already completed and uploaded the first action, Benchmarking, to NYSERDA. This is a policy to report the energy use of municipal buildings on an annual basis, which will help to identify opportunities to reduce our city’s energy costs.
The City has also passed legislation to adopt the New York State Unified Solar Permit, which is the second high-impact action. Using a standardized permit process will reduce costs and delays for solar projects. This will not only help the city, but also builders and owners. Once completed, the City is eligible for a $2500 grant for having completed this action.
The third task will be the Energy Code Enforcement Training. City employees Mr. Jim Palmer and codes enforcer Mr. Phil Green are taking the training course. This training focuses on what code-enforcement officials need to know about the energy code in the context of its practical application on active construction projects.
The fourth item is being discussed between the City and NYSERDA. There are several options under discussion, and the City is also exploring whether it can use a project that has already been completed.
Upon the completion and submission of the four action items, the City will be eligible for a grant of $50,000 towards a clean energy project. The grants are on a first-come, first-served basis, so there is a sense of urgency to get the four items completed as soon as possible.
Some uses for the grant money that have been suggested include changing to LED street lights, planting of trees throughout the city, charging stations for electric cars, solar fields, and upgraded heating and insulation in the municipal buildings.