New York Offers Funds for Local Energy and Microgrids in Low-Income Areas

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New York is making $325,000 available to provide technical assistance for communities developing local energy and microgrids for social justice or low-to-moderate income (LMI) areas.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority today announced the program. Proposals are due from community-based organizations by August 31, 2017.

Eligible projects include microgrids, community solar, district geothermal or biomass, and aggregated energy efficiency and weatherization.

NYSERDA will select up to five organizations through a competitive process for a maximum award of $65,000 each. The organizations can use the money to secure technical assistance for  planning and developing community-scale clean energy projects.

The state is encouraging community organizations, finance institutions, foundations, utilities, local governments, and project developers to work together on applications.

About 40 percent of households in the state fall into the low to moderate category, which means they earn less than 80 percent of the median income in their area. The state defines environmental justice communities as low-income and minority communities that have historically been burdened by environmental problems.

NYSERDA will work with the selected organizations to develop a set of toolkits that will be tested and refined throughout the project planning and development process. The toolkits will then be made available to community-based organizations across the state to use.

The program is one of several sponsored by the state to encourage clean energy and move New York toward its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030.

The state is offering the money through ReVitalize, an initiative set up with the recognition that low-income communities often lack the technical expertise and financial resources to develop local energy. This puts them at a disadvantage as the state develops its Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) policies. REV creates a market platform that gives local energy a larger role in generating power in New York.

“New York continues to make investments that help drive locally driven, economically sound solutions to the challenges faced by LMI customers,” said Alicia Barton, NYSERDA’s newly appointed president and CEO. “The REVitalize initiative strongly supports Governor Cuomo’s nation-leading clean energy strategy and helps ensure all New Yorkers, including low- to- moderate-income, have access to clean energy opportunities.”

The application is available on NYSERDA’s website.

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About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of She has been writing about energy for more than three decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.