Energy

Community Choice Aggregation in Rye

The City of Rye has signed on to a program called Westchester Power Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) that takes effect in March 2019. As of December 2018, 25 Westchester municipalities have signed up for this program, representing over 100,000 Westchester electric customers and over 40% of the County’s population.

Westchester Power’s CCA program was approved by the NY State Public Service Commission in 2015 and is administered by Sustainable Westchester, a non-profit consortium of municipalities that addresses critical sustainability concerns within Westchester County. The City of Rye, along with virtually every municipality in Westchester, is a member of Sustainable Westchester.


What Is Westchester Power/CCA?

Westchester Power’s CCA allows member municipalities to pool their communities’ electricity demand, which builds the clout necessary to negotiate fixed, low rates with private suppliers andallows us to choose cleaner energy.

In late 2018, Westchester Power solicited bids from energy providers to supply electricity to over 100,000 residents and small businesses within the County. Starting in March 2019, Rye residents and small businesses will be automatically enrolled in the program and will receive a two-year fixed price for electricity supply that is lower than the 12-month trailing average price offered by Con Edison.

Even after City residents and small businesses begin receiving their electricity supply through Westchester Power, Con Ed will continue to deliver that electricity, and you will continue to receive a single bill from Con Ed.

In addition, Rye has selected the “Green” 100% renewable energy option, which means that 100% of the electric power purchased is from clean, renewable sources: sun, wind or water. No coal. No gas. No oil. No nuclear.


What if I Don’t want to Participate?

If you don’t want to participate in the CCA program, you and any other Rye resident can opt out, or even downgrade from “Green” to “Brown” power, at any time, for any reason, and with no charge or penalty. Similarly, if you’d like to opt back in, you can do so, at any time, with no penalty.

Most importantly, because the Westchester Power’s CCA program is run by Sustainable Westchester, this is not similar to a profit-making ESCO that can attach penalty fees for exiting, and/or ratchet up the price of your electricity after some period of time. Those types of tactics have absolutely no place in this program and will not happen here.


Westchester Power representatives explain CCA at a recent Rye forum.

Westchester Power representatives explain CCA at a recent Rye forum.

Questions?

To learn more about CCA, please contact Sustainable Westchester's CCA administrator, Westchester Power: 914-242-4725.



 

New Year's Resolutions from Local (Green) Leaders

With the New Year upon us and the possibility of a fresh start, consider a Green New Year’s resolution or two for 2019. To help you get started, here are a few ideas from some of the area’s local environmental and sustainability leaders.

And if you’re still looking for inspiration, check out Rye Sustainability Committee members’ own New Year’s Resolutions!


Andrea Alban-Davies

Conservation Chair, Rye Garden Club

A typical lunch for Andrea’s children

A typical lunch for Andrea’s children

  • Reuse it. Pack a waste-free lunch for yourself and/or your kids. To include in your (reusable!) lunch bag: reusable water bottle, reusable metal food containers, reusable cloth (or other) sandwich bags, silverware, and a cloth napkin.


Chris Burdick

Town Supervisor, Bedford & Founding Chair, Sustainable Westchester

Chris with his Electric Vehicle, the Chevy Bolt

Chris with his Electric Vehicle, the Chevy Bolt

  • Keep that car. Consider whether you can hang onto your car a bit longer. Maintaining your car as long as you can is the most cost efficient use of your automobile dollars and the fewer cars you buy, the less goes into the waste stream. 

  • Staying cool. Consider turning down your air conditioning next summer. Try fans.  


Liz Garrett

Organic landscape designer & former Chair, RSC Rye Healthy Yard Program

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  • Leaves. Think of three ways you can use leaves in your own yard to feed the earth; be it the brown in your home composting recipe, shredding them and blowing them into a shrub (or arborvitae) border to blanket the shrubs and beds, or making sure your landscape company mulches the leaves in place on your lawn next fall. January is the time to discuss this with your landscape contractor or find a new one who can. [Need a new landscaper? Visit RSC’s Landscape Directory for suggestions.]

  • Pesticides. Remove at least one pesticide from your arsenal. Are you using chemicals to get rid of weeds in the patio or driveway? Hand pull them instead. Does your lawn care service apply some blanket herbicide as weed control? Try mulch-mowing or over-seeding in the fall to combat weeds that thrive in poor soils. Are you quick to grab a fungicide or pesticide if you see disease or an infestation on your prized ornamentals? Try an organic systemic soil additive or biologic control instead. The recent NY Times article on “The Insect Apocalypse” is a sobering read.

  • Go native. In that vein, if you are adding to your yard, add natives or other beneficial plants and shrubs that will provide pollen and sustenance for native caterpillars and insects. The birds and larger bugs will appreciate it.


Anne Jaffe-Holmes

Executive Director, Federated Conservationists of Westchester County

Anne’s 2019 Resolutions:

  • Get OUT OF MY CAR!!! I'm good about walking when I can, but I am pushing myself - already in December! - to ride my bike to the store, take the bus to work, and get on the train to meet people in another village or town! It requires being more organized so that I give myself enough time to bike, or to be at the bus stop or train station on time. The extra exercise is a major benefit, and being able to read on the bus or train feels like almost like a chocolate reward! The challenge is the discipline of getting out early on my bike, or being on-time for the bus or train I need to take!

  • Do I really NEED to buy this? In the interest of reducing the waste, the clutter, the maintenance that come with owning "things", in 2019 I am excited about slowing down my purchasing. I want to consider more carefully whether I really need to buy something, or whether if I dig through my closet I will find the item I need, or whether I can borrow it from a friend - or maybe even do without it!!! And if I DO decide I need to buy, I am excited about exploring whether I can buy it second-hand!


Kerry Linderoth

Director of Sustainability & AP Environmental Science Teacher, Rye Country Day School

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I will continue striving towards a zero waste lifestyle - both at school and at home! I don't have a trash can in my office, which serves as a conversation starter and educational opportunity about the growing problem with waste in our society. The average American generates 4.4lbs of trash per day, but that number can be greatly reduced by recycling, composting, and reducing unnecessary packaging.

Kerry reports that she also asks her AP Environmental Science students to write out their own green New Year’s resolutions. A good idea to get young minds thinking green!


Peter McCartt

Director of Energy Conservation and Sustainability, Office of the Westchester County Executive

I, Peter McCartt, resolve to:

Peter has made the    Green Westchester Pledge   . Have you?

Peter has made the Green Westchester Pledge. Have you?

  • Complete the update of the Climate Action Plan through the newly established Climate Crisis Task Force;

  • Complete the Demand Response Program that eliminates the chance of brown-outs and black-outs and the subsequent need for more expensive infrastructure repairs and upgrades;

  • Complete the 2 MW Solar System on the Yonkers Bus Depot and start the solar projects on County properties and facilities totaling 4 MW;

  • Further electrify County and municipal fleets and expand EV charging infrastructure, creating a network of stations across the county;

  • Plan the construction of our County-wide food scrap recycling program;

  • Complete the installation of 30,000 LED bulbs across multiple County properties.


Nina Orville

Founder, Abundant Energy

Nina’s resolutions for 2019:

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  • Raise awareness. Talk more directly about the implications of climate change for our future well-being. Our reluctance to discuss it makes it easier for us to carry on as if this unprecedented challenge was not disrupting the miraculous natural processes and systems that sustain us. When we connect what science tells us about future conditions with the implications of those conditions for our children and all that we love, it spurs action and resolve.

  • Reduce, reduce, reduce. Reduce use of plastics in all forms and to recycle all plastics that are recyclable (including bringing recyclable bags and plastics film to the grocery store for recycling).

  • Convert to LED. I've already done this one but it's timely for many people: Converting your interior and exterior lights to LED. Look for "warm white" designation to replace any incandescent bulbs. LEDs save about 75% in energy usage and will last for many years.


Ron Schulhoff & Michelle Sterling

Scarsdale Conservation Advisory Council

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The FSR Dynamic Duo’s resolutions:

  • Number 1, by far: Purchase a food scrap recycling kit and start using it!

  • Grasscycle. It’s so easy for your landscaper to do, requires no extra equipment, and has a significant environmental impact!

  • Mulch mow your leaves

  • Switch to an organic landscaping program. Get those little yellow poison signs off your law for good!

  • Use a Green Garmento bag for dry cleaning, and always save and return your hangers to the dry cleaner! 


Christine Siller

Executive Director, Rye Nature Center

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  • Don’t let the winter cold make you idle! Turn off that engine.

  • Once a week, buy nothing.

  • Christine suggests taking a look at Rye Nature Center’s Green Tips as well.


Annie Teillon

Chair, Apawamis Club Green Team

My dream for 2019 is to help foster an understanding that going green is not just for the younger set. Our efforts to protect Mama Earth affect today's environment, economy and our overall health. I am working with members of The Apawamis Club Green Team to pinpoint areas that can easily go green without making a huge lifestyle impact to members. Our initial goals are to reduce the single use plastics such as straws and cups club wide and find alternatives to the coolers full of single use water bottles on the golf course. Waste reduction must span generations so that we can learn from and teach one another. Recycling is integral to regaining a balance of the environmental intricacies of our planet, but not using plastics in the first place beats all!

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Rye Earns Clean Energy Community Designation

Thanks to the tireless efforts of Rye Sustainability member Linda Mackay, the City of Rye earned Clean Energy Community designation on September 26, 2018 for its commitment to cut costs and reduce energy consumption.

A program of the NY State Energy Research and Development Authority, acceptance in the CEC Program provides municipalities greater access to "implement clean energy actions, save energy costs, create jobs, and improve the environment. In addition to providing tools, resources, and technical assistance, the program recognizes and rewards leadership for the completion of clean energy projects."

The first CEC benefit was realized just this month with the award of a $5,000 NYSERDA CEC grant for a Rye Sustainability community composting initiative.

Read more about Rye’s designation in the press release, below.


Press Release

The City of Rye Earns Clean Energy Community Designation for its Commitment to Cut Costs and Reduce Energy Consumption

The City of Rye (Rye) today announced it has been designated a Clean Energy Community by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), recognizing its leadership in reducing energy use, cutting costs and driving clean energy locally.

Announced by Governor 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 advances the Governor’s Reforming the Energy (REV) strategy by demonstrating the importance of communities in helping New York reach its Clean Energy Standard mandate of having half of the state’s electricity coming from renewable energy resources by 2030.

Rye received the designation for completing four of 10 high-impact clean energy actions identified by NYSERDA as part of the Clean Energy Communities initiative. In addition, the designation gives Rye an opportunity to apply for up to $5,000 toward additional clean energy projects, with no local cost share.

“The City of Rye is grateful to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority for this recognition and the related grant opportunity. The City thanks the Rye Sustainability Committee (and especially Linda Mackay) and City staff for doing the hard work that has brought us the many benefits of being a Clean Energy Community,” said Josh Cohn, Mayor, City of Rye.

“Congratulations to the City of Rye for its Clean Energy Community designation and for helping to build a cleaner and more sustainable New York,” said Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA. “Communities are at the heart of the state’s efforts, under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, to achieving our ambitious energy efficiency goals and combating climate change.”

To earn the Clean Energy Community designation, Rye completed the following high-impact clean energy actions:

  1. LED Street Lights - Converted street lights to energy efficient LED technology (1038 bulbs replaced with LED).

  2. Clean Fleets - Installed electric vehicle (EV)charging stations or deploy alternative fuel vehicles (Rye purchased four EV’s: Chevy Bolts; April 2018).

  3. Energy Code Enforcement Training - Trained compliance officers in energy code best practices (three employees from Rye attended in April 2018).

  4. Energize New York Finance - Offered energy upgrade financing to businesses and non-profits (Rye became a member of the Energy Improvement Corporation in 2015).

Cities, counties, towns and villages that complete at least four of 10 high-impact clean energy actions are designated Clean Energy Communities and are eligible to apply for funding of up to $250,000 with no local cost share and the option of receiving up to 25 percent paid in advance to support additional clean energy projects. At least two of the four actions must have been completed after August 1, 2016. NYSERDA is accepting applications for funding on a rolling basis through September 30, 2019 or until funds are exhausted, whichever comes first. Funds are being provided through the Clean Energy Fund and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Additional clean energy action items communities can take to achieve designation include:

  • 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.

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

  • Adopting a benchmarking policy to track and report the energy use of the municipal buildings.

Once all funding is exhausted in a region, local governments designated a Clean Energy Community are eligible to apply for a $5,000 grant, on a first-come, first-serve basis until such funds are exhausted.

Clean Energy Community Coordinators are also available at no charge to help communities to develop and prioritize clean energy goals, access easy-to-use resources such as guidance documents and case studies, and take advantage of available funding and technical assistance opportunities.

Rye Sustainability Committee member commented that “Carla Castillo, from the Hudson Valley Regional Council, was extremely helpful and advised the Rye Sustainability Committee members during the entire process of becoming a Clean Energy Community. We are very grateful for her expertise, responsiveness and enthusiasm!”

For more information on Clean Energy Communities, visit NYSERDA CEC. Local government officials or employees can find contact information for their respective coordinator here for assistance navigating the program.

Community Choice Aggregation Presentation

Community Choice Aggregation Presentation

Rye Sustainability Chair Melissa Grieco

Rye Sustainability Chair Melissa Grieco

A large group turned up at the Rye Free Reading Room on Monday evening when representatives from Sustainable Westchester - a non-profit consortium of municipalities that addresses critical sustainability concerns within Westchester County - presented their overview of Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) and what it means for Westchester County.

Twenty* Westchester County municipalities - nearly half of Westchester's towns, villages and cities - are currently participating in Sustainable Westchester's CCA program, Westchester Power.

For those who were unable to attend, Rye TV filmed the presentation and Sustainable Westchester provided digital copies of their presentation and handouts, which can be found below.

To learn more about CCA, please contact Sustainable Westchester's CCA administrator, Westchester Power: 914-242-4725.

*Participating Municipalities (as of March, 2018):

  • City of New Rochelle

  • City of White Plains

  • Town of Bedford

  • Town of Greenburgh

  • Town of Lewisboro

  • Town of Mamaroneck

  • Town of New Castle

  • Town of North Salem

  • Town of Ossining

  • Town of Somers

  • Village of Hastings-on-Hudson

  • Village of Irvington

  • Village of Larchmont

  • Village of Mamaroneck

  • Village of Mount Kisco

  • Village of Ossining

  • Village of Pelham

  • Village of Pleasantville

  • Village of Rye Brook

  • Village of Tarrytown

 
Jenna Amundsen, Westchester Power

Jenna Amundsen, Westchester Power


Rye Sustainability's New Year's Resolutions

It's that time of year when we scratch our heads for meaningful yet attainable New Year's resolutions. As you try to sort it all out, Rye Sustainability members offer some suggestions to help your 2018 be a "green" one. We've also compiled a list of suggestions from other organizations.

Happy New Year!

Rye Sustainability's New Year's Resolutions

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Other Great Ideas ...

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  • Although designed for school children, One World's Eco Passport contains a list of "eco actions" that everyone can print out and complete.
  • Varsity's list includes simple action items, such as turning off the dryer and recycling paper.
  • Huffington Post interviewed eco-friendly experts and celebrities for their suggestions, which include switching to a green energy supplier and avoiding disposable containers when purchasing fresh produce.
  • EcoWatch lists 10 ways to be an environmental steward. Some ideas: Buy local and change your mode of transportation.

Saving Money While Going Green: Home Energy Efficiency Workshop

Rye residents and people from neighboring communities showed up at the Rye Free Reading Room on April 1 for Rye Sustainability's first home energy efficiency workshop. The free event was geared to the homeowner who wants to learn how to make his or her home energy efficient while saving money.

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A panel of industry experts presented and answered a wide variety of questions, ranging from free home energy assessments to New York State programs that help homeowners finance energy efficiency projects. Attendees also learned about residential renewable energy options, including solar, geothermal and pellet stove heating.

Participants and the topics they covered included:

Delicious refreshments were provided by Le Pain Quotidien in Rye.

Thanks to Rye TV, the event can be viewed here.

Spotlight on Sustainability: Carbon Neutrality at LPQ

RSC's ongoing series, "Sustainability in Our Community," features individuals, organizations and businesses that have taken steps towards a sustainable lifestyle. We hope you enjoy this profile of Le Pain Quotidien's energy efficiency efforts, are inspired to learn more, and will consider making changes to reduce your home or business' carbon footprint. Tips below.


Carbon Neutrality at LPQ

By Sue Drouin, Rye Sustainability Committee

Rye Sustainability Committee recognizes global restaurant chain Le Pain Quotidien for becoming certified CO2 neutral in all its U.S. restaurants.

A mainstay of the breakfast and lunch scene in downtown Rye, and highly visible on Purchase Street, Le Pain Quotidien (LPQ) serves local, mostly organic foods, including fresh bread. It now delivers a message of sustainability.

With dozens of locations across the U.S. and more than 200 restaurants worldwide, LPQ announced in October 2016 that the independent organization CO2logic has certified their U.S. restaurants as carbon neutral. It plans to achieve global carbon neutrality by 2020.

 

What is Carbon Neutrality?

LPQ staff with the CO2 Logic certification plaque.

LPQ staff with the CO2 Logic certification plaque.

According to one definition, carbon neutrality “or having a net zero carbon footprint, refers to achieving net zero carbon emissions by balancing a measured amount of carbon released with an equivalent amount sequestered or offset, or buying enough carbon credits to make up the difference. It is used in the context of carbon dioxide releasing processes associated with transportation, energy production, and industrial processes.”

 

How LPQ Achieved Carbon Neutrality

CO2logic helped LPQ identify its major sources of energy consumption and leakages. Switching to LED lights and using more efficient refrigeration, cooking and cooling mechanisms were some of the ways they cut restaurants’ emissions. By switching to LED lighting, for instance, the chain reduced by 20% its carbon footprint per restaurant. It has reduced its overall energy consumption by 60% and its carbon emissions by 168 metric tons.

To offset emissions, LPQ invested in a cookstove manufacturing project in Uganda. (    Photo Credit: The Gold Standard)

To offset emissions, LPQ invested in a cookstove manufacturing project in Uganda. (Photo Credit: The Gold Standard)

A final step towards achieving carbon neutrality was the decision to invest in a carbon-reducing project in Uganda to offset the remaining unavoidable emissions. The project provides families with fuel-efficient cookstoves that reduce carbon emissions and deforestation.

Initiatives that reduce water and energy consumption and cut pollution and waste will improve any business’ bottom line. They also benefit from providing employees with a workplace they can be proud of.

By reducing carbon emissions and its carbon footprint, LPQ hopes that they can inspire other corporations, organizations and individuals to do the same to help mitigate climate change.

 

What Can You Do?

Photo Credit: The Gold Standard    

Photo Credit: The Gold Standard
 

Wondering how to get started? Whether you're a business owner or homeowner, start with an energy audit to determine your carbon footprint. The RSC Tips page includes several ways for residents to determine their carbon footprint. Businesses can engage a consultant, such as CO2logic.

For further energy efficiency ideas and tips, refer to RSC's Energy page and The Rye Sustainability Plan.

Is an Electric Vehicle Right for You and Your Budget?

An example of Watt Plan's personalized summary. Click to enlarge.

Is an electric vehicle (EV) right for you and your budget? Although many major car manufacturers are adding EVs to their fleets, there's still a lot of confusion among consumers about EVs and their benefits. In fact, a recent survey found that the main issue slowing down EV adoption is lack of awareness: 60% of those surveyed said they were "unaware of electric cars.”

To help you sort through the details here's a list of a few useful sites and articles:

EPA's Green Vehicle Guide: In addition to providing an overview of "green" vehicles, this guide includes fuel-saving tips, information about fuel economy savings and a search function for finding fuel-efficient vehicles in your area.

An example of Watt Plan's personalized summary. Click to enlarge.

NYSERDA's Watt Plan is an excellent resource for determining the savings potential of an EV. It helps consumers make informed decisions on whether an EV is a good investment by calculating savings potential based on driving habits, home electricity use, and available tax incentives. You can also learn about how adding rooftop solar power to your home can increase the benefits of driving an electric vehicle by charging it with solar power.

The Sierra Club EV Guide: By taking a short quiz, this site helps you determine which type of EV is best for you and then includes a guide to research cars, calculate CO2 and fueling costs savings, and learn about EV incentives in your area.

Green Car Reports lists a number of different buying guides on its site, including model-specific and annual reviews.

So take a look and see if an EV is right for you. Rye residents own more EVs (78, according to NYSERDA data) than their neighbors, but we can do better. And once you buy your EV, check out where the charging stations are located on Plugshare or Chargepoint.

 

Solar Resources for New Yorkers

With the cost of solar plummeting, now is the time to learn whether solar is right for you. Here are some resources to consult as you consider making the switch.

Energysage: The company's mission is to "make going solar as easy as booking a flight online" by acting as a clearinghouse for solar companies and prospective customers. Energysage helps over 25,000 people each year get multiple solar quotes from their network of pre-screened solar installers. The company has won the support and backing of the U.S. Department of Energy and New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA). The site also has a number of informative videos and FAQs for background information.

NYSERDA Get Solar: NYSERDA, a public benefit program, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and support to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. In addition to a variety of energy efficiency resource material, its Get Solar page provides information on solar financing options and available incentives.

NY Solar Map: The NY Solar Map and Portal is an invaluable tool for any New Yorker who is beginning to research whether solar is a viable option. With localized information, it provides detailed cost, industry and market statistics for any type of customer throughout New York. The site can also connect customers with accredited solar installers. Simply type in your residential or business address to get started.

According to the map's creators, the Map is unique in that "consumers, installers and municipal leaders can also access information on resources and programs available in their local community through the ‘In Your Area’ feature. This tool connects consumers to local ‘solarize’ group purchasing campaigns and community shared solar opportunities, which are open to renters, investors and those with non-viable roofs."

 

 

Tax Credits Available to "Green" NY Home and Business Owners

According to New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, almost 26,000 New Yorkers claimed $23 million in tax credits for clean transport infrastructure and solar investment in 2014. You could do the same by taking advantage of multiple tax credits available for "going green" by conserving energy and reducing carbon emissions.

As part of New York's Reforming the Energy Vision  program, the NY State Tax Department and NYSERDA have highlighted tax credits for "environmentally conscious homeowners." Details are reproduced below:

Solar energy system equipment credit

New Yorkers are eligible to claim the solar energy system equipment credit if they've purchased solar energy equipment, leased the equipment, or have agreed to purchase energy produced by a solar energy system for at least ten years.

The credit is equal to 25 percent of the expenses related to the qualified solar energy system after subtracting grants from NY-Sun, and is limited to $5,000.

Alternative fuels and electric vehicle recharging property credit

Property owners or their business can claim a credit worth up to $5,000 for investments in new alternative fuels vehicle refueling property or electric vehicle recharging property. For Tax Year 2014, nearly 26,000 environmentally-conscious New Yorkers claimed $23 million in credits for these programs.

One of Governor Cuomo's environmental initiatives, NY-Sun, is working to move the state closer to a sustainable, self-sufficient solar industry. The growth of solar energy installations in New York State has increased 575% between 2012 and 2015 and strong demand continues. New York State now ranks fourth in the number of people employed in the solar industry and fifth in total annual solar installations, up from ninth in 2013.

For more information:

Dayle Zatlin, Assistant Director of Communications
Phone : 518-862-1090, Ext. 3359
Email : dayle.zatlin@nyserda.ny.gov

James Gazzale,
Phone : 518-530-4643
Email : James.Gazzale@tax.ny.gov

How Does New York's Clean Energy Future Look? How Can You Help?

A new database released by The Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University and The Nature Conservancy contains a wealth of information on the varied energy policies adopted by 38 states, including New York.

The State Policy Opportunity Tracker (SPOT) for Clean Energy outlines state policies in the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency, financing, infrastructure and transportation.

You can view the New York profile here.

According to the Nature Conservancy, "The SPOT for Clean Energy is not a score card. Instead, it benchmarks clean energy policies, enabling the user to analyze both the status quo for a state and where there may be opportunities for growth in the future on clean energy. It draws from data sources of 18 organizations."

You Can Make a Difference!

Does all this information seem too wonkish and beyond your ability to take action? It shouldn't be! Each one of our individual actions can make a collective and significant contribution to helping reduce the carbon footprint of our community, state and nation. For some inspiration, read the recent New York Times article featuring a small village in England where residents banded together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (up to 40%) by doing simple things, such as using clotheslines, taking fewer flights, installing solar panels and glazing windows for insulation. If Ashton Hayes Village residents can do it, so can Rye!

For some tips on how to reduce your carbon footprint see our RSC Tips Page.

For more information about RSC's community greenhouse gas emissions audit, visit the Energy Section of our Rye Sustainability Plan.

Contact us if you'd like to get involved. We'd love to hear from you!

Reforming the Energy Vision: What Is It and Why Should We Care?

Have you heard about Reforming the Energy Vision (REV)? If you're like many New Yorkers, you may be unaware that New York State is undergoing a revolutionary transformation in its retail electricity markets.  Unveiled by Governor Cuomo in April 2014, REV is a comprehensive energy strategy designed to make electricity more affordable, while transitioning to a cleaner, more energy efficient system. REV's 2030 targets include the following:

  • 50% of all New York’s energy will be generated from renewable sources

  • 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels

  • 23% reduction in energy consumption of buildings from 2012 levels

The ultimate goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050 and create new jobs and economic opportunity throughout New York State.

Why should you care? Assuming all goes as planned, REV will ultimately help lower your electricity bills and create a cleaner environment for all New Yorkers.

To learn more about REV, visit their website and watch the informational video below.

You can also see examples of REV projects near Rye here.

In New York, the energy system of tomorrow is taking shape today. What does the grid look like? Watch this video to learn more about the vision behind New York's plan for a clean, affordable and resilient energy system for all New Yorkers.

Con Ed's Home Energy Report: How is Yours?

Rye resident and FCWC board member Carolyn Cunningham congratulated ConEd on their Home Energy Report pilot program. The post, which can be found in the July 2016 FCWC newsletter is reproduced here.


 

Congratulations to ConEd on their Home Energy Report

By Carolyn Cunningham, Board Member, Federated Conservationists of Westchester County

I hope you also received "Your Home Energy Report" as we did in the mail from ConEd a month or so ago.  It told us that our house had used 57% less energy last year than our neighbors and that it saved us about $1,720 for the year.  It also told us that we had used 30% less energy (than our neighbors) last month.  These reports are provided to help us all "make smart energy decisions."  It was gratifying to have them confirm that by not using my clothes dryer, but using the lines in the basement for drying our clothes plus being careful to turn off lights that we were not using it had paid off so handsomely.  I had stopped using the dryer (almost entirely) as something I could do to fight climate change - I knew that would cut the Green House Gas (GHG) production from our personal energy use, but not by how much.

If you have any questions about these reports you are told to contact them at 1-212-460-4738 or at energyreports@conEd.com.   I now suggest it would be a great idea if all FCWC members would contact them (even if you can't find your report any more) because I was told that this is a pilot program of theirs only being carried out in Brooklyn and Westchester.  If the program is well received, they will expand the program.  Congratulate them on the program and it may well reduce New York State's GHG production even more.  FCWC thanks you.

 

A Solar Summary: The Tenth Annual New York Solar Summit

The 10th Annual Solar Summit

On Monday, June 20th - fittingly, the summer solstice, and the longest day of the year - 500 people gathered at John Jay College in New York City to hear about everything solar at The New York Solar Summit.  There were six panel discussions and a keynote speaker; all knowledgeable senior business professionals or representatives from government agencies, who talked about the latest advancements and achievements in solar energy policy, projects and technology in New York State.

To kick off the day with a bang, the exciting news was announced that the NY Solar Map and Portal, developed by the City University of New York (CUNY), was now “live.”  This dynamic, multifaceted website assists individuals and decision-makers in NY State communities by allowing them to see properties and provide estimated costs and savings for solar rooftop installations.  It also provides guidance and information on permitting, financing and connects users with local solar opportunities. Summit attendees were challenged to spread the word about the Map on social media and were offered a $250 donation for the most “likes” and “shares” of nysolarmap.com. Friends of Rye Sustainability Committee was the proud winner of that donation!!

The biggest takeaway from the summit was the importance of New York State as a solar energy leader in our country.  New York is the fastest growing solar market in the U.S., up 575% from 2011to 2014.  Solar jobs and manufacturing are increasing at twelve times the rate of the rest of the job/manufacturing market.  Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s energy policy strategy Reforming the Energy Vision (REV), building clean, resilient and affordable energy solutions for New York is becoming a reality, with solar energy a major focus.  New York's Clean Energy Standard mandate requires 50% of the State’s electricity to be sourced from renewable energy sources by 2030.  To help meet this goal and to stimulate the marketplace, $1 billion in incentives have been made available through New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) NY-Sun programs, including Community Choice Aggregation, Solarize campaigns, and Community Distributed Generation. Visit NYSERDA's NY-Sun page to learn more about NY-Sun and its programs.

 

New York City's Efforts

RSC Member Linda Mackay at the Solar Summit

RSC Member Linda Mackay at the Solar Summit

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has committed NYC to an 80% reduction of greenhouse gases by 2050 and has invested more money in solar of any city in the country. Currently, NYC has 8.8 MW of solar energy installed, with 35 schools having installed rooftop solar. The ultimate goal is to generate up to 100 MW of solar from city properties by 2025. Many of these solar projects should be eligible for NYSERDA’s NY-Sun Community Distributed Generation initiative status, where renters, businesses, schools, and homeowners become members in a project and share the solar electricity produced, thereby getting credits on their utility bills.

 

A case study in Solar

Besides NYC, an exciting solar project in Western New York is about to break ground. The project is located in the town of Tonawanda, NY, just outside Buffalo. Their town of 75,000 people has limited resources, and with municipal electric bills totaling $4 million per year, Tonawanda welcomed a cost-saving solution. The Town has recently signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with SolarCity, which will build, own and operate an 8500 solar panel array over 10 acres on Tonawanda's capped landfill, at no cost to the Town. Savings are estimated at approximately $4 million over four years. If all goes according to schedule, construction will take place October through December of 2016, and the project will be operational by February 2017. You can read more about the project here.

 

Battery Storage and Microgrids

The importance of advancements in solar technology was also addressed at the Summit, with discussions of battery storage and microgrids.

Storing solar energy in batteries for later use has progressed from “can it be done?” to “when will it be available?” Storage technology is currently where solar was ten years ago but is advancing at a very rapid pace.  Companies such as Tesla, Sunverge, and Sonnen are working with utility companies to integrate solar and storage.  As a pilot project, Con Edison will outfit 300 homes in Brooklyn and Queens with leased high-efficiency solar panels and lithium-ion battery energy storage systems.

Creating microgrids in NY State that use solar or other renewable energy sources, as well as stored conventional electricity, is essential when addressing the need for resiliency, especially in areas where hurricanes and ice storms disrupt electricity.  “A microgrid is a discrete energy system consisting of distributed energy sources (including demand management, storage, and generation) and loads capable of operating in parallel with, or independently from, the main power grid”.  As of April 2016, New York was the first in the nation to administer a microgrid award competition: “Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the next phase of the 40 million NY Prize microgrid competition which seeks to modernize New York State’s electric grid, help communities reduce costs, and promote clean energy. The next round of funding will provide $8 million in awards for engineering designs and business plans for community microgrids to ensure local power networks can operate independently during emergencies or outages.”

The New York Solar Summit was an inspiring day, filled with lively discussions, optimism and pride in the progress New York State has made and continues to make in its commitment to solar energy as a realistic, affordable renewable energy source.

Turn the Lights Off and the Savings On!

Here's a simple way for Rye businesses to participate in a global campaign - Daylight Hour - to promote the use of daylight in lieu of electric lighting in office spaces.

Daylight Hour is an annual social media campaign, organized by the Building Energy Exchange. Launched in 2014, this simple and engaging campaign asks participating offices to turn off their lights in day-lit spaces for one hour on the Friday before the summer solstice. Leading up to and during this hour, offices around the world share their involvement on social media, engaging their communities and showcasing their environmental commitment. Last year, 300 offices in more than a dozen countries participated, demonstrating that daylight can light our workspaces, save money, and reduce our environmental impact. 

The Daylight Hour is a simple campaign that enhances the office environment, encourages more sustainable practices, and connects a broad population to the tangible ways our buildings use energy. The 2016 Daylight hour in on June 17, at Noon.

The Daylight Hour is a great way to engage your community and demonstrate your environmental commitment. Small steps, like Daylight Hour, can build awareness about how our buildings use energy.

Participation is easy - it only takes a couple of minutes to sign up, and all you have to do is turn off the lights in your day-lit spaces from Noon to 1pm on June 17. The Daylight Hour provides templates for internal and external communication, as well as social media tools - so make sure to showcase your involvement on your social media channels. The Daylight Hour heavily promotes participants and gives awards in both technical and creative categories. 

Visit www.daylighthour.org for more information. 

To register, sign up here: http://www.daylighthour.org/join

When: Friday, June 17, 2016 from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM (EDT) 

Rye Becomes a Climate Smart Community

On July 8, 2015, the Rye City Council passed a resolution making Rye a Climate Smart Community.

The Climate Smart Communities (CSC) program is a New York State initiative to help local communities reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, prepare for impacts of climate change and save taxpayer dollars. The program is designed to address 10 focus areas outlined in the CSC 10 Pledge Elements.

This CSC profile outlines Rye’s progress through the 10 pledge elements. Detailed information on actions completed, in progress, and identified for future action can be found in the CSC Profile.