The Cleaner, Greener Communities (CGC) Program is a competitive grant program to encourage communities to develop and implement regional sustainable growth strategies. The primary goal of the CGC Program is to encourage communities to develop regional sustainable growth strategies in such areas as emissions control, energy efficiency, renewable energy, low-carbon transportation, and other carbon reductions. Phase I of CGC provided funding to the 10 Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) regions in New York State (NYS) for the development of Regional Sustainability Plans. Phase II of CGC offers grant funding for projects that support the goals of each region’s respective sustainability planning effort. The CGC Program is funded with proceeds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the purpose of which is to lower carbon emissions in the participating states.
Through Round 3 of CGC II, NYSERDA is offering competitive grants for the implementation of market-transforming sustainability initiatives and projects that accelerate the adoption of sustainable planning and development practices, are innovative, create multiple community benefits, reduce carbon emissions, leverage public and private resources, and propel NYS toward an environmentally and economically vibrant and resilient future. Funding will support policy and plan development, technical assistance, and implementation of projects and initiatives that have the ability to be inspirational and replicated to expand market adoption and overall impact. Funding will also support communities taking action to move toward a self-sustaining clean energy future. Projects will stimulate environmentally sustainable economic growth consistent with the CGC Phase I Regional Sustainability Plans and REDC Strategic Plans. These projects will be holistic in nature, exhibit positive impacts at a scale larger than typical NYSERDA-funded projects, and contribute to an improved quality of life through a systems approach of connecting the natural, built, and human environments. Projects and initiatives selected under CGC II will not only save energy and reduce carbon emissions; they will also make NYS a better place to live, work, and do business.
Category 1 – Photovoltaic and Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment Permitting Incentive Applications (Open-Enrollment): This category is a continuation of Category 1 in NYSERDA PON 2721, which was released in 2013. Funding is available for communities to adopt streamlined permitting and other ordinances for photovoltaic systems and electric vehicle charging stations, with awards of up to $10,000 per applicant. NYSERDA may add other permitting or model ordinances as they become available for communities to adopt and apply for incentives under this category.
Category 2 – Flexible Funding Pilots (Rolling Applications - Competitive): Funding is available to communities for assistance with completing transformative clean energy and sustainability projects that have both an immediate and long-term impact on carbon mitigation. In order to qualify for funding, municipalities will have to complete four of six Steps in order to submit an application for funding. These projects will prepare a community, region, or project for a more sustainable and resilient future; thereby creating direct or indirect community benefit and carbon reductions. This category is intended to be flexible in that NYSERDA may periodically add and remove eligible project types based on the needs identified in the market over time. Any changes will be communicated on the CGC Guidance Documents webpage. Projects must be ready to commence within three months of NYSERDA award notification and should be completed within three years of contract execution.
Category 3 – Community-Scale Sustainability Projects (Due Date Applications - Competitive): Funding is available for community-scale sustainability projects that are innovative and transformational in their contributions to advancing energy efficiency, renewable energy, or carbon mitigation, as well as economic development benefits; thereby creating direct community benefit and reduction of carbon emissions. Project types include showcase or anchor construction projects, as well as innovative projects or programs that stimulate market transformation. Projects must be ready to commence within three months of NYSERDA award notification and should be completed within three years of contract execution. Applicants may not commence work on any portion of the project until there is a fully executed contract with NYSERDA.
All projects must demonstrate a contribution to the reduction of carbon emissions either through direct outcomes or indirect influence in areas such as future growth and development patterns. Finally, CGC II is a unique program that should fill gaps and leverage other sources of funding in ways that could not otherwise be accomplished. Round 3 of CGC II is flexible in that it supports a variety of project types; however, it is focused in its priority objective of achieving significant market transformation to reduce carbon pollution.