New York State Accelerating Measures to Reduce Gas Demand Through Efficiency
By Donovan Gordon, Director, Clean Heating and Cooling, NYSERDA
In March, Con Edison, which serves the largest number of customers of all of New York’s investor owned utilities, stopped accepting new applications for natural gas service, citing gas constraints in Westchester County, just north of New York City. To assist local municipalities, New York State developed a Clean Energy Action Plan (Action Plan) – a $250 million investment in clean energy technologies and energy efficiency measures for residents and businesses in Westchester County and Lansing, a town in New York’s Southern Tier also affected by gas constraints, providing immediate relief to residents and businesses in these areas.
The Action Plan focuses on reducing reliance on fossil fuels overall by increasing awareness and scaling up support of energy efficiency actions, including efficient heating and cooling options, such as ground and air source heat pumps. The Action Plan looks to help lower energy costs for consumers, promote economic development and provide additional resources for community awareness and support around clean energy solutions.
The Action Plan is a coordinated effort among the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), New York State Department of Public Service and New York Power Authority, which are collaborating to ensure a wide breadth of services and programs is available to consumers in the affected areas. Building on top of existing statewide programs, the Action Plan includes $250 million in new energy efficient investments in the gas constrained areas and was developed to include a variety of incentives and programs to accelerate the use of clean, efficient energy options. Funding is available for both new and existing multifamily, commercial and industrial customers as well as for low-to-moderate residential developments.
As part of the Action Plan, the state is also stepping up its partnerships with local leaders and community organizations in Westchester to raise awareness of new and existing programs and support available to consumers through various outreach events and informational webinars. These partnerships are underscoring for residents and businesses the resources available to adopt clean, efficient technologies. It is also showing how multiple agencies and municipalities can work together to advance innovative energy solutions to help local communities. In addition, NYSERDA is launching a community awareness program in the upcoming months to help businesses and homeowners access available programs and incentives for heating their homes and buildings with clean resources and increasing energy efficiency.
While this Action Plan is focused on Westchester and Lansing, these clean energy solutions are a template for other communities facing similar issues. In addition to the programs highlighted in the Action Plan, NYSERDA offers a suite of energy efficiency programs for building developers, commercial and industrial building owners and residential households interested in reducing energy consumption and move toward cleaner technologies.
New York State has some of the most ambitious clean energy goals in the country, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and reducing cumulative annual site energy consumption by 185 TBtu by 2025 – the equivalent of the energy to fuel and power 1.8 million New York homes annually. New York State will continue to work with local municipalities and other partners to reach these energy targets – and increasing the use of clean, efficient heating and cooling technologies will play a vital role in meeting them.