Binghamton, NY. The Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition (BRSC) is pleased to announce that we have been awarded a grant of $1.8 million from the State of New York to participate in a collaborative project to increase energy conservation and solar penetration in the Southern Tier and Mid-Hudson regions. Our lead partners in this project are Catskill Mountainkeeper, Sustainable Hudson Valley, and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County (CCET), each of which brings extensive experience in conservation, renewable energy promotion and sustainable community development. The funding will come from Phase II of the Cleaner, Greener Communities (CGC) Program, within the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), and is being awarded through Round IV of Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative.
In 2014 BRSC launched Southern Tier Solar Works, the first community solar program in our region, which succeeded in more than doubling the number of installations in Broome and Tioga Counties. This initiative, which will be repeated in four eastern southern tier counties this spring, was part of the Renewable NY program.
Catskill Mountainkeeper launched Renewable NY to tackle the increasingly urgent need for communities to shift their energy consumption towards sources that are clean, efficient, and renewable. In early 2014 we launched RenewableNY.com, a central resource for information and actions that can be taken to advance renewable energy in New York State. The statewide program also facilitates partnerships between local non-profit organizations and community leaders to advance community-based projects, including solar bulk-purchasing campaigns that encourage the purchase of residential and small business solar installations. These educational and action-oriented campaigns have been proven to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create economic growth in the renewable energy sector.
“Renewable NY Southeast” is a three-year, multifaceted, flagship project and bi-regional partnership between the four anchor community organizations, and is intended to raise public awareness about the benefits of and opportunities for solar, as well as to remove market barriers to increased solar installation. By aggregating hundreds of sign-ups for of solar installations in a short time-frame, a campaign of this sort can bring the cost per installation down from $20,000 to $4,000.
The project’s main components will include an education and awareness campaign, a group purchasing program, and a work force development partnership with local educational and training institutions. Each of these initiatives is envisioned as a scalable and replicable model that can be implemented in other regions of New York going forward.
In the Southern Tier, BRSC and CCET will include energy efficiency as an integral part of the program, and will be promoting energy improvements for commercial applications, including for schools, businesses, municipalities and non-profits, as well as industrial scale solar on roofs, parking lot awnings, brownfields and floodplains. BRSC, in partnership with SUNY Best, the offices of Assemblymembers Donna Lupardo and Clifford Crouch and a growing list of co-sponsors, have organized a four part series “Energy Projects that Get Results”, which opened on December 4 with the NYSERDA winter tour featuring President and CEO John Rhodes, and will continue on January 8 with Greg Hale from the Governors Energy Office and John Markowitz from the New York Power Authority (NYPA). Details on this program at http://ceo.binghamton.edu/sunybest/
Catskill Mountainkeeper will administer and manage the project, and will collaborate on marketing and community-based outreach with the two regional teams in the Mid-Hudson and Southern Tier. Sustainable Hudson Valley will implement the outreach plan in the Mid-Hudson counties of Dutchess, Ulster, Orange, Rockland, Putnam and Sullivan. BRSC and Cornell Cooperative Extension Tompkins County will lead outreach efforts in Broome, Delaware, Tioga, Chenango, Tompkins, Steuben, Chemung and Schuyler counties. All four organizations will work with partnering educational institutions in the development of a Clean Energy Technology Training Consortium to increase opportunities for solar and other renewable energy-related job training in both target regions. Additional partners at the county and local levels will be engaged where possible and appropriate.
“This is a tremendous step forward for communities in the Southern Tier, Catskills and Hudson Valley towards a renewable energy economy. We greatly appreciate the support and bold leadership of the Cuomo Administration as we work to create a new energy future for New York.” – Betta Broad, Project Manager, Climate & Energy, Catskill Mountainkeeper
“The last six months have brought a dramatic shift in public attitudes about the urgency of climate change and the solid realism of solar solutions right now. The time is perfect to build on the people-to-people energy outreach that is already going on in our region. We have been working with focus and frugality to develop the methods and connections to carry out this campaign. This investment in our work is just thrilling,” – Melissa Everett, Executive Director of Sustainable Hudson Valley
“After four years of successfully promoting solar and energy efficiency on a shoestring, we now will have the resources to demonstrate the value of a clean energy economy for job creation, economic development and environmental protection across the Southern Tier. Together with our partners in government, business, education, and community-based organizations across our two regions and around the state, we will use best practices to aggressively build New York’s energy sector to be the best in the nation. After a series of major weather disasters culminating in superstorm sandy, we are ready to make our contribution to rolling back global warming, even as we build prosperity and a better quality of life for future generations.” – Adam Flint, Southern Tier Solar Works Project Manager at the Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition
“Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County is pleased to partner with Catskill Mountainkeeper to provide renewable energy education and outreach across the Southern Tier. It is imperative that we reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and we are excited to have the opportunity to widely share the benefits of solar energy as we work together towards a more sustainable future.” – Sharon K. Anderson, Environment Team Leader, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County
Southern Tier Solar Works
Contact: Adam Flint, Southern Tier Solar Works Program Manger at the Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County
Contact: Sharon K. Anderson, Environment Team Leader
Catskill Mountainkeeper – Renewable NY
Contact: Betta Broad, Program Manager Energy & Climate
Sustainable Hudson Valley
Contact: Melissa Everett, Executive Director