December 13, 2023
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Announces Additional $25 Million Available for Local Municipalities to Drive Clean Energy Action and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Governor Hochul Announces Additional $25 Million Available for Local Municipalities to Drive Clean Energy Action and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Clean Energy Communities Program Helps Reduce Energy Use, Lower Costs and Offers Additional Support for Projects Located in Disadvantaged Communities

Supports Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act Goal to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 85 Percent by 2050

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced $25 million in additional funding is now available under the State’s Clean Energy Communities Program for local municipalities to drive high-impact clean energy actions and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The program, which recognizes local clean energy leadership and provides implementation grants, helps reduce municipal energy use, lower costs, and offers additional support for projects located in disadvantaged communities. This announcement supports the State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85 percent by 2050.

“Advancing our climate and clean energy goals is a top priority as we experience the increasingly damaging impacts of climate change and extreme weather,” Governor Hochul said. “This initiative provides critical support to municipalities leading by example with investments in cleaner, more efficient solutions that lower energy costs while ensuring a clear path to building community-wide resiliency and a more inclusive green economy for everyone, especially for those historically underserved.”

Administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the Clean Energy Communities Program helps county, city, town, or village governments identify and implement high-impact actions that save energy and cut costs. By achieving Clean Energy Communities designation, participants qualify for grants for additional clean energy projects. Through a network of regionally based Clean Energy Communities Coordinators, municipalities receive guidance to navigate the program, and help in identifying, prioritizing, and implementing the most effective strategies based on their specific community needs.

With this additional funding, NYSERDA is expanding offerings to include more eligible project options and incentives as well as updating the program’s point system for high impact actions. Each high-impact action is worth points that communities collect upon completion of the action. Grant levels will be based on the number of points earned as well as the community’s size. In addition, awarded projects located in a New York State disadvantaged community can qualify for an additional 50 percent in funding for grants over $5,000.

Applications for the program will be accepted on a rolling basis through December 31, 2025, or until funds are exhausted, whichever is sooner. Grant applications will be accepted through an online portal at nyserda.ny.gov/CEC.

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “NYSERDA is proud to partner with municipalities that are working toward or have achieved the Clean Energy Communities designation in New York State. With an improved program offering more flexibility and options to achieve designation, local governments across the state will gain greater access to funding for their efforts to lower carbon emissions and advance energy efficiency for the betterment of their residents.”

The expanded Clean Energy Communities Program will help more cities, counties, towns and villages join the more than 533 local governments that have already earned the Clean Energy Community designation. Since the program launched in 2016, more than 883 local governments across New York State have completed 3,836 high-impact actions through the program. The program also helps address persistent disparities due to the impacts of climate change in historically underserved and marginalized areas by providing additional incentives for disadvantaged communities.

Many communities that are designated NYSERDA Clean Energy Communities are also registered or certified Climate Smart Communities under the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), which supports local efforts to meet the economic, social, and environmental challenges posed by climate change. New York State currently has over 400 local governments registered and certified as Climate Smart Communities across the State, representing more than 9 million New Yorkers.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “DEC looks forward to continuing to work with communities across the state as they take action to help address the threat of climate change. Under Governor Kathy Hochul’s leadership, NYSERDA’s Clean Energy Communities program and DEC’s complementary Climate Smart Communities program encourage local leaders to incorporate clean energy, climate resiliency, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions to help build a stronger and more resilient New York State.”

State Senator Kevin Parker, Senate Energy and Telecommunications Chair said, "In order to meet the Clean energy and climate change mitigation objectives of New York State, it is crucial that communities throughout the state implement measures to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption. I am pleased to see NYSERDA continue to expand this program, particularly by providing more opportunities for projects in underserved communities."

Assemblymember Didi Barrett, Assembly Energy Chair said, “When we passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), we made a commitment to meet communities where they are and help bring them along as we transition to a clean energy economy. Our municipalities need access to funding, information, and guidance and I am pleased to see this additional $25 million has been made available through the Clean Energy Communities Program to help our communities on this journey while minimizing the burden on taxpayers.”

New York State Association of Counties Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario said, "Our energy transition is one of the most critical aspects of our time. It affects the economy, environment, travel, housing, offices, facilities, nearly every part of our lives. NYSERDA’s Clean Energy Communities Program provides a tested framework and supportive material to help our counties navigate this transition, embrace sustainable energy practices, and walk down a path to a more carbon-free future. We commend Governor Hochul for her environmental stewardship, ensuring a greener legacy for the next generation.”

New York State Conference of Mayors Executive Director Barbara Van Epps said, “Facilitating the shift from traditional energy sources to sustainable energy systems is a crucial element of any strategy focused on decreasing emissions and tackling climate change. NYSERDA's Clean Energy Communities Program will make it easier for cities and villages to advance the State’s energy objectives and achieve their own energy goals.”

Association of Towns Executive Director Gerry Geist said, “Making more funding available for municipalities under the Clean Energy Communities Program is a great investment in New York. Local governments understand the importance of addressing climate change, and the fact that hundreds of towns are part of the Clean Energy Communities program is a testament to that. The flexibility of the program works well given how diverse municipalities are across the state, and the program is a great example of local governments and the state working together.”

The Clean Energy Communities Program is funded through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and the Clean Energy Fund (CEF). For more information on Clean Energy Communities, please visit NYSERDA's website.

New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan
New York State's nation-leading climate agenda calls for an orderly and just transition that creates family-sustaining jobs, continues to foster a green economy across all sectors and ensures that at least 35 percent, with a goal of 40 percent, of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities. Guided by some of the nation’s most aggressive climate and clean energy initiatives, New York is on a path to achieving a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and economywide carbon neutrality by mid-century. A cornerstone of this transition is New York's unprecedented clean energy investments, including more than $52 billion in 118 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce building emissions, $3.3 billion to scale up solar, nearly $3 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $2 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. These and other investments are supporting more than 165,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector in 2021 and over 3,000 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, New York also adopted zero-emission vehicle regulations, including requiring all new passenger cars and light-duty trucks sold in the State be zero emission by 2035. Partnerships are continuing to advance New York’s climate action with nearly 400 registered and more than 100 certified Climate Smart Communities, nearly 500 Clean Energy Communities, and the State’s largest community air monitoring initiative in 10 disadvantaged communities across the state to help target air pollution and combat climate change.

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