SARANAC LAKE — North Country municipalities are invited to participate in the latest round of the Clean Energy Communities (CEC) program. 

The grant program, coordinated by the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA), was designed to help save communities energy and reduce costs through clean energy projects.

Round one of the program wrapped up in 2020 and resulted in 20 CEC designated North Country communities implementing 108 high-impact, clean energy actions. Over $1.7 million in grant funds were awarded to support clean energy projects throughout the region.  

'A WIN-WIN'

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced the launch of the new CEC Leadership Round in late January as part of the state’s broader climate and clean energy agenda.

ANCA’s Energy Circuit Riders will be providing free technical assistance and consulting services to North Country governments interested in participating. 

"There is a solid foundation built on ANCA’s involvement in round one of the (CEC) program," ANCA’s Clean Energy Program Director Jerrod Bley says in a Tuesday news release, "and the next round allows us to be nimble and responsive to more North Country communities interested in participating.

"It's a win-win," he continues. "We are eager to help our hard-working local leaders take advantage of everything that the Leadership Round has to offer."

CITIES, COUNTIES, TOWNS, VILLAGES

ANCA is part of a regional group of outreach coordinators selected by NYSERDA and headed by the Albany-based Capital District Regional Planning Commission (CDRPC) to implement the Leadership Round in the North Country.

This round will help more cities, counties, towns and villages join more than 300 local governments statewide that have already been designated as Clean Energy Communities, the release says. 

All eligible communities can participate in the new round without local cost share and regardless of previous participation in the program.

"As a valued partner stewarding our environment and reducing carbon emissions to meet New York State’s climate and clean energy goals under Gov. Cuomo’s leadership, ANCA is a leading resource for our northern communities," NYSERDA Director of Communities and Local Government Kelly Tyler says in the release. 

"As our Clean Energy Communities program partner, they will help provide more municipalities with information on a wider range of actions that can be embraced to save energy and lower costs while creating healthier communities to live and work in."

EARNING DISTINCTION

To earn CEC designation, each community must complete four high-impact actions intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save taxpayer dollars and improve quality of life for communities.

Additional funding is included for disadvantaged communities through the Leadership Round in support of New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal of increasing access to clean energy and sustainable infrastructure to all end-users.

During the first round of the CEC program, Lewis County used grant funds for LED lighting upgrades and an electric vehicle for the county’s fleet.

Lewis County Board Chairman Larry Dolhof said the county was excited to build upon its prior CEC designation and advance development that balances community, economic and environmental sustainability. 

"For round two of the program, we are committed to a county-wide approach that supports our villages and towns achieving designation, energy savings and emissions reductions," he says in the release.

READY TO ASSIST

ANCA Energy Circuit Riders Nancy Bernstein and Jennifer Perry will be joined by a new team member to serve as CEC coordinators in the North Country region.

They are currently informing municipalities about the program and are ready to assist eligible communities in completing high-impact actions, becoming designated CEC communities and accessing grant funds for clean energy projects. 

ANCA will work in partnership with organizations across New York to implement the statewide program, including CDRPC, the Hudson Valley Regional Council, and the Mohawk Valley Economic Development District, as well as two subcontractors who will provide valuable technical assistance. 

"We’re glad to have the support of this larger team of partners,” Bley says. "This collaboration will help us connect communities with the resources and expertise they need to efficiently complete their clean energy projects, making this Leadership Round even more successful than the first."

CDRPC’s Director of Sustainability Todd Fabozzi said they were happy to have ANCA on board again. 

"Their clean energy team has established strong relationships with North Country municipalities over the years, and they have the programmatic knowledge and community networks to help CEC succeed in this rural region." 

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