Among state leaders in clean-energy progress
Cold Spring is more than holding its own in a statewide race to secure grants for clean-energy initiatives.
At the Wednesday (Jan. 24) workshop of the Village Board, Trustee Laura Bozzi reported that the village is currently ninth among 838 municipalities based on points it has earned as part of a state clean-energy program that determines priority for public funding. The Highlands is doing well in general in the fight to mitigate the greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change; Beacon is ranked 13th and Philipstown is 25th.
Bozzi is spearheading grant-writing for proposed village projects which, if approved by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), would not require matching funds from the municipality.
Cold Spring has already received grants totaling $35,000 for initiatives such as installation of LED lighting at the water treatment plant, four electric-vehicle charging stations, an energy audit of Village Hall, street tree plantings, a food scrap pilot program and a pollinator garden at Tot’s Park.
The approvals for those projects earned the village 6,100 points under the Clean Energy Communities Program. By surpassing 5,000 points, Cold Spring qualified for a $100,000 grant to spend on projects that it must submit within the next few months.
If the village reaches 7,000 points, it will be eligible for another $175,000 grant; at 9,000 points, the prize is a $250,000 grant.
“We can do it,” Bozzi said. “But it’s a race against everybody else and before Oct. 1, 2024, when funding levels decrease.” The program, which has $25 million to distribute, ends Dec. 31, 2025.
The Wednesday workshop included a preliminary discussion of how the $100,000 grant might be used, such as an electric vehicle for the Water Department, a charging station at the water treatment plant, solar arrays on village-owned buildings and energy improvements at Village Hall.
The program is distinct from the Climate Smart Communities initiative created by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Cold Spring, Nelsonville, Philipstown and Beacon are among the 401 municipalities registered that can achieve bronze (122, including Philipstown and Dutchess County), silver (10, including Beacon) and gold status.
Bozzi said she hopes the village can meet the criteria by spring to apply for bronze certification. Actions undertaken in Climate Smart Communities also earn points in the NYSERDA program.
Participation “makes Cold Spring more competitive for state environmental grants, including support in addressing the significant flooding we’ve been experiencing and to repair our high-hazard dams,” Bozzi explained in an email.
Planning has already begun for a number of potential Climate Smart projects, ranging from installing LED streetlights and creating forestry programs to green parking lot policies and climate-related public events.
Cold Spring already qualifies for Climate Smart points through actions such as joining Hudson Valley Community Power, a program that supplies the village with electricity purchased from renewable sources.
“This is an opportunity for transformative funding and statewide recognition,” Bozzi wrote. “Our challenge is to move quickly to access the funds before they’re exhausted, but we’re well on our way.”
She noted the programs can be leveraged for grants for infrastructure investments to better manage storms and other climate impacts.
The board on Wednesday created a Climate Smart Task Force, with Bozzi as its coordinator, to advise the Village Board on the NYSERDA and DEC programs. The board also appointed Erik Brown, John Lane, Hass Murphy, Shamala Kandiah Thompson and Paul Thompson, each of whom serves on Philipstown’s task force.
Behind The Story
News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.