Schenectady County Recognized as Model Municipality for Actions to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Build Climate Resiliency
Supports the Governor's Goal to Reduce Statewide Emissions 40 Percent by 2030
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today recognized Schenectady County as the 13th local government to be designated a Certified Climate Smart Community in the state. The county's actions to strengthen resiliency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions supports the Governor's aggressive goals to reduce statewide emissions 40 percent by 2030 and reduce emissions 80 percent by 2050.
"New York continues to make significant strides in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and as communities across the state step up to help achieve our nation-leading climate goals, we are laying the foundation for a more resilient, stronger state for generations to come," Governor Cuomo said. "I commend Schenectady County for their ongoing efforts to support clean energy initiatives, and I encourage all of New York's municipalities to follow the county's example, help us combat climate change and become a certified community."
At an event held at the Schenectady County Compost and Resident Recycling Center solar farm, Schenectady County Legislative Chair Anthony Jasenski was presented with two street signs highlighting the county's Climate Smart Community Certification.
Certified Climate Smart Community
A number of resiliency projects have led to the county's certification, including the five-megawatt solar farm on Hetcheltown Road, which is one of several solar photovoltaic installations managed by Schenectady County, including rooftop arrays at five county buildings. The county has additional PV installations planned as part of meeting its goal of achieving energy independence by 2020 through energy efficiency upgrades in county facilities and increases in solar power.
Schenectady County has also made progress in reducing greenhouse gases from transportation through a project that increased the efficiency of transporting preschool children with special needs. The county switched from school-based to zone-based bus routes and staggered school start- and end-times. This allowed bus drivers to transport students to and from several schools located within the same zone in a single, direct route. The county further optimized the efficiency of the bus routes by using mapping software to reduce the number of buses needed by 23 percent, avoiding an estimated 18,000 vehicle-miles per year.
Schenectady County earned certification points for each of the 10 Climate Smart Community Pledge Elements. This illustrates the county's well-rounded, comprehensive local climate action program that is rooted in strong stakeholder engagement and planning, which includes both mitigation and adaptation. The county has completed climate action plans for both government operations and within the community. In 2016, the county produced an update to its hazard mitigation plan that assessed the influence of climate change on a wide range of natural hazards.
Launched in 2014, the Climate Smart Communities Certification Program recognizes local governments that have taken action to reduce emissions and protect their communities from a changing climate. More information is available here.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "I applaud Schenectady County's leadership in developing a comprehensive local climate action program that addresses emissions from energy use, solid waste, and transportation. The county's commitment to energy independence by 2020 is exceptional and the county has built a strong foundation for meeting this goal by improving the energy efficiency of government buildings and dramatically expanding its reliance on solar power. Achieving certification demonstrates that Schenectady County is serious about acting on climate, and I congratulate Legislative Chair Anthony Jasenski and county staff on this accomplishment."
NYSERDA President and CEO John B. Rhodes said, "Congratulations to Schenectady County for its commitment and effective progress in reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating its carbon footprint. Local communities are at the forefront of Governor Cuomo's aggressive fight on climate change and play an important role in creating a cleaner, more sustainable environment for all New Yorkers."
Schenectady County Legislature Chairman Anthony Jasenski said, "Schenectady County is proud to be one of the first counties in New York State to be designated a Certified Climate Smart Community, having years ago committed ourselves to be a leader in renewable energy and environmental conservation. However, this recognition is not the end of our efforts, but just the beginning. In October the County Legislature adopted the goal of reaching 100 percent energy independence by December 31, 2020, and we will continue to look for every opportunity to achieve this goal."
In addition to Schenectady County, other local governments have completed a rigorous review process to be designated Certified Climate Smart Communities, including Ulster County (bronze), city of Kingston (bronze), village of Dobbs Ferry (bronze), city of Rochester, Madison County, town of Mamaroneck, town of East Hampton, town of Cortlandt, Orange County, city of Albany, and city of Watervliet. These Certified Climate Smart Communities represent New York’s notable municipal leaders in local climate action.
To learn more, visit the DEC's Climate Smart Communities Certification Program webpage atwww.dec.ny.gov/energy/96511.html.
About Reforming the Energy Vision
Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) is Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's strategy to lead on climate change and grow New York's economy. REV is building a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers by stimulating investment in clean technologies like solar, wind, and energy efficiency and generating 50 percent of the state's electricity needs from renewable energy by 2030. Already, REV has driven a nearly 800 percent growth in the statewide solar market, enabled over 105,000 low-income households to permanently cut their energy bills with energy efficiency, and created thousands of jobs in manufacturing, engineering, and other clean tech sectors. REV is ensuring New York State reduces statewide greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and achieves the internationally-recognized target of reducing emissions 80 percent by 2050. To learn more about REV, including the Governor's $5 billion investment in clean energy technology and innovation, please visitwww.ny.gov/REV4NY and follow us at @Rev4NY.