Hubs Will Foster Community Engagement and Ensure Disadvantaged Communities Benefit from New York's Clean Energy Transition
Supports New York's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act Goal to Deliver at Least 35 Percent of Benefits of Clean Energy Investments to Disadvantaged Communities
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced $52 million in awards to establish 12 Regional Clean Energy Hubs to serve as centers of outreach, awareness, and education in regions across New York State and help foster residents' participation, especially those in underserved or otherwise disadvantaged communities, in New York's clean energy transition. Today's announcements support the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal to deliver at least 35 percent of the benefits, with a goal of 40 percent, from clean energy investments to disadvantaged communities and help advance an equitable clean energy transition for all New Yorkers.
"As New York continues moving toward a green economy, community outreach and education is essential to ensuring all New Yorkers can participate in and benefit from this transition," Governor Hochul said. "In true New York fashion, these organizations are coming together to help their fellow New Yorkers and ensure every community has the opportunity to thrive. My administration is proud to support their efforts through this $52 million investment, and I applaud their leadership in helping New York communities transition to a clean energy future."
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority partnered with community-based organizations to establish the Hubs and provide a holistic, multidisciplinary approach to ensure that all New Yorkers have equitable access to the benefits of the state's clean energy transition. Each Hub will be composed of a network of organizations in each of the state's economic development regions to be responsible for establishing and fostering partnerships, over the next four years, in their area to deliver services at the community level and offer new ways to coordinate and promote clean energy outreach, engagement and education services throughout their communities. Organizations with experience in providing outreach and education services in clean energy and energy efficiency, and integrating those with social services, housing, economic development, healthand training, were encouraged to participate.
Awards were given to the following organizations to establish a Regional Clean Energy Hub in their region:
- Affordable Housing Partnership, $3,624,546
Central New York
- Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board, $3,317,994
- Climate Solutions Accelerator of the Genesee-Fingers Lakes Region, $3,835,014
- Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County, $4,000,000
- Cornell Cooperative Extension of Dutchess County, $4,074,389
- Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County, $3,302,944
New York City
- Association for Energy Affordability, Inc., $8,926,027 (Bronx and Brooklyn)
- Neighborhood Housing Services of Queens, $6,623,725 (Queens and Staten Island)
- WE ACT for Environmental Justice, Inc., $3,837,067 (Manhattan)
- Adirondack North Country Association, $4,099,404
- Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, $3,516,454
Western New York
- People United for Sustainable Housing, Inc. (PUSH Buffalo), $3,499,034
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, "The Regional Clean Energy Hubs will connect the dots for New Yorkers who are seeking resources to reduce energy costs, make their homes more energy efficient, participate in clean energy job training or apply for new jobs. The Hubs will also be critical in engaging with local communities to address any existing barriers faced when accessing the programs to ensure all New Yorkers are involved and can fully participate in a green economy."
Long Island Power Authority Chief Executive Officer Thomas Falcone said, "As New York transitions to a clean economy, all communities must have access to information and resources on the benefits of the clean energy transition. These new clean energy hubs will serve as a launchpad for local customer outreach, engagement, and educational initiatives to help connect customers with programs and incentives. I commend the Governor for her steadfast leadership."
The Hubs were selected through a competitive process to advance an inclusive green economy in New York State that focuses on:
- Delivering community-based engagement, outreach and consumer awareness of clean energy technologies and opportunities;
- Coordinating programs and funding resources to increase participation in clean energy projects;
- Conducting equitable stakeholder engagement to incorporate community perspectives and increase public input into the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority's program, policy, and strategy development;
- Increasing local capacity to engage with community residents about clean energy policy, technologies, and opportunities;
- Advancing diversity in the clean energy workforce by working with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, trade unions, and training providers to help clean energy businesses connect with and hire individuals from priority populations or underserved communities, and increase the number and diversity of participating contractors in the clean energy sector;
- Establishing strategic partnerships across the clean energy ecosystem in a particular region to benefit disadvantaged or underserved communities; and
- Advancing local projects that address regional barriers that prevent disadvantaged communities from participating in or benefiting from the clean energy economy.
The development of the Hubs initiative was the result of a co-design effort led by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the Energy Democracy Alliance, which included participation of more than 30 community-based organizations from across New York State. The co-design approach helped to ensure that the perspectives of those working in communities to address the needs of the most vulnerable New Yorkers was informing the development of this important initiative.
Funding for the Hubs initiative is part of New York's nearly $1 billion investment to increase access to energy efficiency and clean energy solutions for low-to-moderate income residents and communities, which is supported by the Clean Energy Fund and utilities. It's also funded through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and is part of New York's broader set of initiatives to address the clean energy needs of disadvantaged communities. Long Island Power Authority is partnering with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority in support of the Long Island Clean Energy Hub. Previously, $36 million was made available for the establishment of Hubs in 10 economic development regions in the state, however, two additional Hubs in New York City were funded to help address the unique needs in this diverse and highly populated area of the state - bringing the total program funding amount to $52 million.
This builds on the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority's related equity efforts, including making $6 million available to support 150 Climate Justice Fellowship opportunities for individuals across New York State residing in historically disadvantaged communities or from priority populations.
Executive Director of the Adirondack North Country Association Elizabeth Cooper said, "The Adirondack North Country Association is honored to be partnering with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties and SUNY Canton CREST (Career Ready Education and Success Training) to serve as the Clean Energy Hub for the North Country region. This initiative is critical for helping North Country residents and small businesses save money on energy bills and access clean energy opportunities and jobs. Our team's long-standing community relationships, extensive experience advancing clean energy programs, and focus on equity and inclusion will support a strong regional Hub that increases engagement in clean energy initiatives across northern New York."
Executive Director of the Affordable Housing Partnership Susan Cotner said, "The Capital Region Hub looks forward to connecting residents with NYSERDA programs to assist with clean energy upgrades for their homes as well as to job opportunities in the growing clean energy field. We applaud NYSERDA's approach in creating regional Clean Energy Hubs that are composed of community-based organizations with deep connections to households of all incomes throughout the region."
Director of Advocacy and Organizing at the Association for Energy Affordability, Inc. Betta Broad said, "To achieve our nation-leading climate goals, all New Yorkers must be empowered to take action and priority must be given to low-income communities and those disproportionately impacted by pollution and climate change. We are excited to help residents and businesses in the Bronx and Brooklyn access clean energy solutions that lower energy costs, create energy efficient, healthier buildings, and a more sustainable planet."
Energy Program Manager of the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board Chris Carrick said, "The Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board (CNY RPDB) is excited to work with its partner organizations the Alliance for a Green Economy and Greater Syracuse Works to provide clean energy education and services throughout Central New York. With the support of NYSERDA's Regional Clean Energy Hubs program, our team will work with community stakeholders to grow our region's clean energy economy, create family-supporting jobs and reduce burdens for vulnerable populations as we advance the goals of the state's nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act."
Climate Solutions Accelerator of the Genesee-Fingers Lakes Region Abigail McHugh-Grifa said, "We are proud to be part of a cohort of Regional Clean Energy Hubs dedicated to making clean energy services, technologies, and jobs more accessible for New York State residents and small businesses. NYSERDA's local approach to this work allows us to mobilize existing and new partners in our region who are closest to the needs and values of the residents we serve."
Environment and Energy Resource Educator, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Dutchess County Collin Adkins said, "We feel honored and privileged to continue serving the Mid-Hudson Region to help our communities reduce their energy burden, access clean and renewable energy sources, and make informed energy decisions. With a dedicated team of Energy Advisors hosted by a coalition of Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Associations, the proven track records of our subcontracted organizations including Sustainable Westchester, New Yorkers for Clean Power, and UHope Consulting, and a growing network of volunteers and partner organizations, we're excited to help the region and New York State meet our energy goals."
Executive Director, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County, Gregory Sandor said, "Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County (CCE Nassau) is honored to serve as the lead contractor for the NYSERDA Regional Clean Energy Hub for the Long Island Region. We believe our coalition of proven renewable energy and community engagement leaders (institutions, universities, associations and business leaders) makes up a superb team. Our Long Island Clean Energy Hub is committed to providing solutions that will make a tangible difference in our communities and provide measurable results."
Executive Director, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County, Mary Beth McEwen said, "Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County is extremely pleased to have been chosen by NYSERDA to serve as the Regional Clean Energy Hub in the Mohawk Valley. We look forward to connecting with community members, small businesses, and affordable housing owners about the benefits of clean energy, ways to reduce energy costs, and how to make more informed energy decisions. Through education and community outreach, we are investing in the people of our communities and in the future of New York State."
Senior Resource Educator, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, Karím Beers said, "We are delighted to participate in this initiative that reduces carbon emissions and helps New Yorkers, especially those with limited material resources, save money and participate meaningfully in shaping our collective clean energy future."
Executive Director, Neighborhood Housing Services of Queens, Yoselin Genao-Estrella said, "We look forward to uplifting Queens, and Staten Island residents as our communities navigate a post-pandemic society. We are hopeful to support NYC achieve CLCPA goals in a holistic, equitable, and just approach, centering residents' needs first in a clean energy future."
Director of Community Energy, PUSH Buffalo Natalie Rodriguez said, "PUSH Buffalo is pleased to be a part of the Regional Clean Energy Hubs Initiative. As the lead of Western New York Regional Clean Energy Hub (WNY Hubs), we continue our commitment to build resilient communities and provide holistic and inclusive clean energy in Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Allegany counties. Our focus on disadvantaged populations will help strengthen, support, and create a healthier environment and sustainable workforce for frontline communities across the region."
Co-founder and Executive Director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice Peggy Shepard said, "Disadvantaged communities are on the frontline of the climate crisis, where they are getting hit hardest by the effects of extreme weather like flooding and heat, but they are also facing many obstacles to improving their homes and entering a high-quality green job workforce. WE ACT and our partners are excited to lead NYSERDA's Regional Clean Energy Hub in Manhattan, specifically to serve low-income communities and communities of color in multifamily buildings that are a major source of poor air quality and greenhouse gas emissions. We are looking forward to moving our City towards a more efficient, cleaner, and just future."
Steering Committee Member of the New York Energy Democracy Alliance Adam Flint said, "By centering the voices and needs of disadvantaged communities in its design and implementation, the Regional Clean Energy Hub program is a victory for the energy democracy movement, and a crucial tool to achieve New York's climate and equity goals. We congratulate NYSERDA for taking a big first step in the cultural shift underway at the agency whereby this program, which was first conceived of by professional disadvantaged community advocates, has become a reality through a process of codesign."
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 $35 billion in 120 large-scale renewable and transmission 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 $1.6 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. Combined, these investments are supporting more than 165,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector in 2021, 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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