Montgomery County designated clean energy community; eligible for grants

FONDA — Montgomery County has been designated a Clean Energy Community by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority making the county eligible for up to $150,000 in state grants for energy efficiency projects.

According to a press release, the county was designated as a Clean Energy Community after completing four high-impact actions such as reducing energy use, cutting cost and promoting clean energy — actions by NYSERDA as part of its Clean Energy Communities initiative. The county will have the opportunity to apply for up to $150,000 toward additional clean energy projects, with no local cost share.

“Having a solid vision for the future and building thriving communities requires us to work to keep energy costs down for consumers and businesses, said Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort. “This designation is yet another example of Montgomery County being a leader in the state that will be able to continue to attract investment, jobs and residents.”

The actions the county completed to be designated a Clean Energy Community include:

∫ Adopted a benchmarking police to track and report the energy use of the energy use of the county’s municipal building.

∫ Installed an electric vehicle charging station at the Montgomery County Public Safety Facility at 200 Clark Dr., Fultonville.

∫ Performed energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades including installing new LED lighting and heat pumps in municipal buildings to achieve a 10 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

∫ Established an Energize NY Finance Program that enables long-term, affordable Property Assessed Clean Energy financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects at commercial buildings and not-for-profits.

“Here in Montgomery County, we understand that being competitive and continuing to grow our local economy means utilizing innovation to lower energy costs,” said Ken Rose, CEO of the Montgomery County Business Development Center. “These efforts are part of our continuing to commitment to ensure employers see our community as a partner in their success. It’s why major national corporations call Montgomery home.”

In 2016, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the $16 million Clean Energy Communities initiative supports local government leaders across the state by providing grants to eligible municipalities to implement energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable development projects in their communities. According to the release, Clean Energy Communities support Cuomo’s Green New Deal, a nation-leading clean energy and jobs agenda that puts New York on a path to a carbon-neutral economy by demonstrating the importance of communities in helping New York reach its goal for a carbon-neutral reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

“I commend Montgomery County on this important designation and its commitment to helping New York achieve a sustainable clean energy future,” said Alicia Barton, president and CEO of NYSERDA. “Today’s announcement reflects the pivotal role that local communities play in advancing clean energy solutions that support Governor Cuomo’s nation leading goals to fight climate change and transition to a carbon-neutral economy while stewarding our environment for future generations.”

Other ways to a municipality can achieve designation include:

∫ Implementing Community Choice Aggression to residents can gain greater choice and control over energy use as a group.

∫ Completing energy code enforcement training on best practices in energy code enforcement for code compliance officers and other municipal officers.

∫ Converting streetlights to energy efficient LED technology.

∫ Streamlining the local approval processes for solar projects through adoption of the New York State Unified Solar Permit.

∫ Earning Climate Smart Communities Certification through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for developing a comprehensive program to reduce its carbon footprint and improve the environment.

∫ Participating in a community-based Solarize campaign to reduce solar project costs through joint purchasing.