The following is a republished press release from NYSERDA and NOT written by The Ithaca Voice. Click here to submit community announcements directly to The Voice, or email

ITHACA, N.Y. – The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced Monday that the City of Ithaca has been designated a Clean Energy Community, recognizing its leadership in reducing energy use, cutting costs and driving clean energy in its communities. This announcement complements Southern Tier Soaring, the regional economic blueprint aimed at attracting a talented workforce, growing business and driving innovation.

Announced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in August 2016, the $16 million Clean Energy Communities initiative supports local government leaders across the state to implement energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable development projects in their communities. Clean Energy Communities advances the Governor’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) strategy by demonstrating the importance of local governments and communities in helping New York reach its Clean Energy Standard mandate requiring 50 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable energy resources by 2030.

The City of Ithaca 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 City of Ithaca an opportunity to apply for up to $100,000 toward additional clean energy projects, with no local cost share. There are currently more than 110 designated Clean Energy Communities across the State.

The City of Ithaca completed the following high-impact clean energy actions:

  • Adopted a Benchmarking policy to track and report the energy use of the City’s municipal buildings.
  • Participated in a community-based Solarize campaign to reduce solar project costs through joint purchasing
  • Established an Energize NY Finance Program that enables long-term, affordable Property Assessed Clean Energy financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects at commercial buildings and not-for-profits.
  • Installed two electric vehicle charging ports at the Seneca Street Parking Garage.

“The City of Ithaca is excited to receive this CEC designation,” said Mayor Svante Myrick. “The diversity of high-impact actions that we completed reflects the broad-based approach we are taking to meet our goal of reducing GHG emissions 80% by 2050. Tracking energy use and enabling financing for efficiency improvements, providing infrastructure for electric vehicles, and supporting community initiatives like Solar Tompkins are all essential pieces to meeting our goals.”

The City is also currently leading the Ithaca Green Building Policy project, which is studying energy standards for new construction, and opportunities for the City and Town of Ithaca to incentivize or mandate those standards. The City is also leading a county-wide consortium to upgrade thousands of streetlights to LED technology.

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

  • Performing energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to municipal buildings.
  • Converting streetlights to energy efficient LED technology.
  • 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.
  • Completing energy code enforcement training on best practices in energy code enforcement for code compliance officers and other municipal officers.
  • Streamlining local approval processes for solar projects through adoption of the New York State Unified Solar Permit.

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 with the option of receiving up to 25 percent paid in advance to support additional clean energy projects. Those with fewer than 40,000 residents are eligible to apply for up to $100,000. 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.

Clean Energy Community Coordinators are also available at no charge to support cash- or resource-strapped 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.

For more information on Clean Energy Communities, visit Local government officials or employees can find contact information for their respective coordinator here for assistance in completing the actions.