The Village of Montour Falls 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.
Village of Montour Falls 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 the Village an opportunity to apply for $50,000 toward additional clean energy projects, with no local cost share.
Village Trustee Jim Ryan praised the initiative, saying, “These grants allow local governments to set the example for the rest of the community. We want to show our residents that we can use their tax dollars even more efficiently by conserving energy. We also want to show them that they don’t need to choose between putting food on the table or buying LED light bulbs — NYSERDA also funds programs that can assist many of our businesses and residents with conserving energy and saving money”. For those interested, Mr. Ryan was referring to the Smart Energy Choices Program.
“I commend the Village of Montour Falls for providing effective leadership in helping their community reduce energy use and costs,” said Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA. “Communities in every corner of the state are realizing the environmental and economic benefits of clean and renewable energy and we appreciate their leadership and partnership in advancing Governor Cuomo’s nation-leading energy strategy.”
When asked about the feasibility of becoming a designated Clean Energy Community, Mr. Ryan continued that, “We are also exceedingly grateful for the assistance from the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Schuyler County, without which we could not have attained designation. The accessibility and expertise of Clean Energy Communities Coordinator Katherine Herleman ensured that we had someone knowledgeable helping us every step of the way. CCE Schuyler ensured we felt prepared to make both financially- and technically-informed decisions about the future of our community”.
Village Mayor John P. King added that he is very supportive of clean energy not only in his community but also across but the whole planet: “We want to show everyone that we can move into the modern world while preserving the past and acknowledging our history.”
Pending the outcome of a comprehensive energy study which will make use of NYSERDA’s FlexTech Program, which assists facilities owners with the cost of making investments on energy projects, the Village plans to renovate their Village Hall. In doing so, the Village would be able to reclaim the second floor, which is only used seasonally due to poor insulation and the high cost of heating. The renovated space will host energy conservation education programming for Village residents to ensure everyone can take advantage of savings offered by existing federal and state programs and work toward reducing their carbon footprint.
To earn the Clean Energy Community designation, the Village completed the following high-impact clean energy actions:
Adopted a Benchmarking policy to track and report the energy use of the Village’s municipal buildings. Streamlined the local approval processes for solar projects through adoption of the New York Unified Solar Permit. Completed energy code enforcement training on best practices in energy code enforcement for the Village’s Code Officer installed an electric vehicle charging station in a municipal parking lot near West Main Street in the Village.
Furthermore, the Village is proud to have installed the first public electric vehicle charging station in Schuyler County. Mr. King and the Village Board all acknowledged the hard work of their Department of Public Works (DPW) and administrative staff in accelerating the installation process to less than two months. The cost of the electric vehicle charging station was significantly reduced by NYSERDA’s financial incentives and the Village DPW’s contribution to the excavation process. The electric vehicle charging station is located in a municipal parking lot next to Sal’s Bar and Grill located at 230 W Main Street. This beautiful downtown location is adjacent to a pocket park which hosts the local farmers market. Complete with a community gazebo and seating, it even provides a view of the famous Shequaga Falls and is sure to be popular with both residents and visitors.