County Showcases Results Of Clean Energy Grant To State’s Top Energy Official

Pictured above, county and state officials stand by the three Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles that were recently purchased by the county through a New York State Energy Research and Development Authority grant. From left are Brad Bentley, county public facilities director; state Sen. George M. Borrello, R-Sunset Bay; County Executive PJ Wendel; Legislator Mark Odell; Doreen M. Harris, Acting president and CEO of NYSERDA; state Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown; Jonathan Mayr, Clean Energy Communities coordinator with Southern Tier West; and Brendan Cullen, planning technician with the Chautauqua County Division of Planning and Community Development. Submitted photo

FALCONER — Chautauqua County officials recently met with Doreen M. Harris, acting president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), to showcase the results of a NYSERDA grant secured by the County in January 2019.

“We were honored to have President Harris join us and we are excited to have this opportunity to purchase electric vehicles and bring Chautauqua County to the green vehicle age,” said County Executive PJ Wendel.

The $150,000 Clean Energy Communities grant enabled the county’s Department of Public Facilities to purchase three Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles (EVs) for the Public Facilities Department fleet and charging stations for the electric vehicles, as well as supported major LED lighting upgrades at county facilities. The projects are expected to save the county nearly $40,000 per year in energy costs.

“It was a pleasure to join Chautauqua County officials and see first-hand the actions they are taking to lower their county’s carbon footprint and provide major cost savings to its residents at the same time,” Harris said. “The county is leading by example with its commitment to supporting local sustainability, increasing clean transportation resources, and supporting Governor Cuomo’s nation-leading climate and clean energy goals. We’re proud to partner with the county toward the mutual achievement of our goals.”

NYSERDA’s Clean Energy Communities Program assists local governments to implement clean energy actions, save energy costs, and improve the environment. In order to be eligible for grant funds, the County had previously earned designation in May 2018 as a Clean Energy Community by NYSERDA, recognizing its leadership in reducing energy use, cutting costs, and driving clean energy locally.

“My congratulations go out to Chautauqua County on this successful initiative with NYSERDA that has advanced critical clean energy goals. This is an effort that I was glad to support during my time in county government and it is exciting to see it reach fruition. From the capital and vehicle upgrades we viewed today, to its energy conservation practices in operations, to its public outreach on green energy options for both businesses and residents, the county’s environmental leadership proves that sustainable strategies can be achievable and cost-effective,” said state Sen. George M. Borrello, R-Sunset Bay.

The county received the designation for completing the following four high-impact clean energy actions identified by NYSERDA as part of the Clean Energy Communities initiative. Notably, the county deployed two all-electric, heavy-duty trucks – with help from NYSERDA’s Truck Voucher Program – in its municipal fleet and installed two electric vehicle charging stations to earn credit for the Clean Fleets high-impact action, representing one of the first municipal deployment of all-electric, heavy-duty trucks in the nation and a key action taken to earn the grant. The county also:

¯ Adopted an energy benchmarking policy to track and report energy use in the county’s municipal buildings;

¯ Orchestrated Solar Chautauqua, a campaign to encourage homeowners to install solar panels; and

¯ Established an Energize NY Finance Program that enables long-term, affordable financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects at commercial buildings and non-profits in the county.

“It should come as no shock to anyone that our county government is current on the most recent green technology,” said state Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown. “County Executive Wendel has led this enlightened approach by moving to install high efficiency LED lighting, and is driving the county’s efforts to acquire three all-electric vehicles and charging stations. The funds for these upgrades came from a NYSERDA grant, which is helping the county pave the way for the future.”

Announced by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo in August 2016, 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. Clean Energy Communities advance the Governor’s nation-leading climate and clean energy agenda by demonstrating the importance of communities in helping New York reach its goal of having a carbon-neutral economy as soon as practicable and a carbon-free power grid by 2040 as outlined by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

“Our legislative sub-committee on Energy began working on this grant program back in 2016 and are finally realizing the fruits of our labor,” said Mark Odell, Chautauqua County legislator. “This was an amazing, multi-departmental collaboration that will provide great benefit for the county for many years to come.”

For more information on Clean Energy Communities, visit www.nyserda.ny.gov/cec. In addition, local government officials or employees who need assistance navigating the program can find contact information for their respective coordinator by visiting www.nyserda.ny.gov/Contractors/Find-a-Contractor/Clean-Energy-Community-Coordinators .


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