Program Will Improve Community Engagement and Ensure Disadvantaged Communities Benefit from New York's Clean Energy Transition
Initiative Supports New York's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act Goal to Deliver at Least 35% of Benefits of Clean Energy Investments to Disadvantaged Communities
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced a new $36 million initiative to establish and support Regional Clean Energy Hubs as centers of outreach, awareness, and education in each of the ten Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) regions, to improve community engagement and ensure that all New Yorkers can benefit from the State's clean energy transition.
Today's announcement supports New York State's ambitious clean energy and climate goals under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act) including the nation-leading goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85 percent by 2050 and the requirement to deliver at least 35 percent of the benefits, with a goal of 40 percent, from clean energy investments to disadvantaged communities.
"Community outreach and inclusion are paramount to ensure that all New Yorkers, no matter their location or circumstance, can benefit from our state's nation-leading transition to clean energy," Governor Hochul said. "This new initiative fosters collaboration and partnerships within communities across New York to ensure that residents not only participate in this movement, but that they can make their voices heard and contribute to how clean energy programs are implemented in the future."
Today's announcement was made by Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin in Yonkers.
"The establishment of Clean Energy Hubs in every region of the state will help underserved communities with greater access to programs that can provide them with energy savings for their homes and businesses, as well as awareness of the growing demand for skilled labor in the energy industry," said Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin. "This new initiative will spark new collaborations and partnerships within communities across the state engaging those historically left behind and enabling them to take full advantage of New York's thriving clean energy economy."
Administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the Regional Clean Energy Hubs initiative seeks to attract proposals from qualified teams of organizations committed to helping residents of disadvantaged communities access and benefit from clean energy solutions and opportunities.
A Regional Clean Energy Hub is defined as an organization or network of organizations, responsible for establishing and fostering partnerships in their region to deliver services at the community level. Organizations with experience in providing services in the clean energy, energy efficiency, social services, housing, economic development, health, and training organizations are all encouraged to participate in the development of a Hub as a new way to offer new services to members of their communities.
NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, "The Regional Clean Energy Hubs initiative will provide a crucial framework to increase community engagement within underserved and otherwise disadvantaged communities statewide. The services provided by the Clean Energy Hubs will spur new opportunities for all New York residents to access clean energy solutions and green career pathways as our State's clean energy economy continues to grow."
Through this competitive selection process, up to ten organizations, one in each Regional Economic Development Council area, will be selected to provide the following services to advance an inclusive, clean energy economy in New York State by:
- Providing awareness, outreach and education for residents, small businesses, nonprofits, and multi-family building owners in disadvantaged communities to improve energy literacy and to make customers aware of available programs and resources;
- Partnering with local organizations including social services, economic development, housing providers and educational institutions to increase residents' and communities' access to, and participation in, clean energy programs;
- Engaging with stakeholders to elevate the voice of residents and communities into future clean energy program planning and implementation;
- Connecting residents to workforce training and development opportunities in the clean energy workforce, with a focus on career pathways for priority populations in disadvantaged communities;
- Implementing targeted community-based outreach campaigns suited to regional needs; and
- Advancing projects to address local needs and their priorities.
Additionally through this initiative, NYSERDA seeks to increase statewide access to benefits such as energy saving programs for homes and businesses that can lower monthly expenses and improve overall well-being, provide more information on and improved access to renewable energy options that reduce reliance on fossil fuels, and raise awareness of and participation in job opportunities in the growing clean energy economy.
Proposals will be accepted through November 23, 2021.
To support a teaming arrangement for proposals and to facilitate partnerships in delivery of services, a Clearinghouse has been created and is available on NYSERDA's website for organizations to express their interest in teaming on a proposal. Regional organizations are encouraged to review these submissions so that Hub proposals are comprehensive and inclusive of the region's needs and leverage regional partners for delivery of services.
Organizations interested in being listed in the Clearinghouse for a potential teaming arrangement must submit a Statement of Interest Form to NYSERDA by November 22, 2021.
Senate Energy Committee Chair Kevin Parker said, "The effects of climate change are real and continue to harm our communities. These Regional Clean Energy Hubs will connect programs, services and clean energy career opportunities to citizens in every region of the state, especially residents and businesses in disadvantaged communities, where they are needed most."
Assembly Energy Committee Chair Michael Cusick said, "Engaging residents, businesses and communities is vital to achieving the State's clean energy and greenhouse gas reduction goals. Establishing Regional Clean Energy Hubs across the state, through locally based organizations, will connect homeowners and businesses with information, programs and job opportunities as we continue to grow the clean energy economy."
David Hepinstall, Executive Director of the Association for Energy Affordability, Inc. (AEA), said, "AEA strongly supports the goals embodied in the Regional Clean Energy Hub solicitation that Governor Hochul and NYSERDA are announcing today. We appreciated the opportunity to work alongside other community-based nonprofits to provide input into NYSERDA's co-design process and help inform the State's commitment of substantial funding for local planning and community engagement that will equitably benefit low-income and environmental justice communities throughout NY State."
Adam Flint, Steering Committee Member of the Energy Democracy Alliance (EDA), said, "The Energy Democracy Alliance is very pleased that the Regional Clean Energy Hub solicitation is being released during Climate Week. This program is the product of a co-design process involving a consortium of community based organizations led by the EDA, and NYSERDA. NYSERDA's commitment to this 'best practice' form of partnership and capacity building with community organizations bodes well for meeting the CLCPA goal of directing 40% of the benefits of the clean energy transition to the communities most impacted by the current dirty and dangerous energy system. We look forward to working with NYSERDA to launch this program and to continue bringing community needs into the program design process."
Funding for the Regional Clean Energy Hubs initiative is part of New York's nearly $1 billion investment to increase access to energy efficiency and clean energy solutions for disadvantaged communities announced last year.
New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan
New York State's nation-leading climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined into law through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on a path to achieve its mandated goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy wide carbon neutrality. It builds on New York's unprecedented investments to ramp-up clean energy including over $21 billion in 91 large-scale renewable projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce buildings emissions, $1.8 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $1.2 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. Combined, these investments are supporting more than 150,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector in 2019, a 2,100 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011 and a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035. Under the Climate Act, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35 percent with a goal of 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities, and advance progress towards the state's 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs of end-use energy savings.
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