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Central NY First Region in State to Draw Half Its Power From Renewable Energy

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The City of Cortland and Village of Homer are both on a list of state-designated “Clean Energy Communities,” earning that distinction by being proactive participants in what the state calls “high impact clean energy actions.”

The announcement was made Friday (December 14) by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the Central New York Planning and Development Board.

Their “Clean Energy Community” distinction means both Cortland and Homer can now apply for funding of up to $100,000 to support additional clean energy projects, with no local cost share and the option of receiving up to 25 percent paid in advance. Cities with populations larger than 40,000 can apply for up to $250,000.

In total, 108 municipalities in the Central New York region alone participated to complete more than 240 of these high impact actions, making it the first region in the state to reach the milestone of having 50% of its electricity come from renewable energy sources.

To earn the “Clean Energy” distinction, communities must complete at least four of the following:

  • Performing energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to municipal buildings.
  • Implementing Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) so residents can gain greater choice and control over energy use a group.
  • Earning Climate Smart Communities Certification through the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for developing a comprehensive program to reduce its carbon footprint and improve the environment.
  • Installing electric vehicle charging stations and using alternative fuel vehicles, such as electric cars, for municipal businesses.
  • Establishing 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.
  • Undertaking a community-based Solarize campaign to reduce solar project costs through joint purchasing.
  • Adopting a benchmarking policy to track and report the energy use of the City’s municipal buildings.
  • Converting streetlights to energy efficient LED technology.
  • Streamlining local approval processes for solar projects through adoption of the New York State Unified Solar Permit.
  • Completing energy code enforcement training on best practices in energy code enforcement for code compliance officers and other municipal officers.

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