Albany County is recognized for its commitment to reduce energy consumption, cut costs and drive clean energy in its communities
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) today announced Albany County is the first community in the Capital Region to be designated a Clean Energy Community, recognizing its leadership in reducing energy use, cutting costs and driving clean energy development.
The announcement was made today by NYSERDA’s Vice President for Innovation and Strategy, Janet Joseph, at the Albany International Airport, highlighting the installation of six electric vehicle charging stations.
The $16 million Clean Energy Communities initiative, announced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo last year, supports local government leaders across the State in implementing energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable development projects in their communities. Clean Energy Communities advances the Governor’s Reforming the Energy (REV) strategy by demonstrating the importance of communities in helping New York reach its 2030 goals of getting 50 percent of its electricity from renewable energy resources and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent.
Albany County received the designation for completing four of 10 high-impact clean energy actions identified by NYSERDA as part of the Clean Energy Communities initiative. The designation gives the County an opportunity to apply for up to $250,000 – the maximum award under the program for larger communities of 40,000 or more residents – toward additional clean energy projects, with no local cost share. There are currently more than 35 communities designated as Clean Energy Communities across New York State.
Albany County achieved its CEC designation by completing the four high impact actions:
- Adopted benchmarking policies to track the energy use information for more than 40 County-owned or occupied buildings and will publish results annually
- Undertook the community-based Solarize campaign in Albany County to reduce solar projects costs through joint purchasing for 33 customers
- Established an Energize NY Finance Program that enables long-term, affordable Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects at commercial buildings and not-for-profits
- Installed six electric vehicle charging stations at the Albany County Airport
Additional action items localities can take to achieve Clean Energy Community designation include:
- Performing energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to municipal buildings
- Converting streetlights to efficient LED technology
- Earning Climate Smart Communities Certification by reducing the community’s impact on the environment
- Adopt the New York State Unified Solar Permit to streamline the approvals process for local solar projects
- Passing a local law to allow aggregation of residents to gain greater choice and control over energy use as a group (called Community Choice Aggregation)
- Provided energy code enforcement training to code officers
Albany County’s commitment to becoming more sustainable extends beyond its Clean Energy Community designation. A number of initiatives already undertaken include solar panel instillation at the Albany County Hockey facility, energy efficiency upgrades at the County Office Building, which resulted in an ENERGY STAR designation for the building, and one-third of the vehicles purchased by Albany County are hybrids. County officials plan to implement LED lighting upgrades this year at the County Office Building, Department of Social Services, Department of Health, Department of Mental Health and the Times Union Center garage.
For more information on Clean Energy communities, visit www.nyserda.ny.gov/cec.