Athens receives funding for clean energy | Greene County

ATHENS – The village of Athens is set to receive $ 20,000 in clean energy funding from the state after the municipality took steps to become a climate smart community this year.

As part of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) Clean Energy Communities Initiative, the village qualified for funding through the state’s points system.

In order to receive funding, the village had to take steps to become a clean energy community, completing a series of climate-friendly tasks, including the village securing the commitment of 10 residents to register for a community solar program.

The village can use the $ 20,000 in funding to upgrade its energy infrastructure as it sees fit.

“The money is limited to things that reduce energy use or switch from using dirty energy to clean energy,” village administrator Dr Joshua Lipsman said Thursday. “So we are in the process of determining which projects we have in the village that correspond to this objective and on which we can spend this money. “

Lipsman, who is chairman of the Conservation Advisory Board and leads the Athens Clean Energy Community effort, said the board will decide which projects to use the money on at the next meeting. of the village board on January 12.

“So far we have a number of things that we are looking at,” he said. “One is to install software in our wastewater treatment plant that will reduce electricity consumption by 25-30%. It looks like it could save us $ 5,000 to $ 6,000 a year. So it’s a win-win situation. The second is that the village has a flagship building called the Cultural Center, which is an older building on Second Street. The building needs many upgrades and renovations, each of which could have the goals that NYSERDA seeks to achieve.

Lipsman said the village first applied for the state program in 2019 and received $ 30,000 in that round of funding. With the initiative on hold in 2020 due to COVID, the village has requested another round of funding this year.

“We are delighted with this recognition from New York for our efforts in Athens to help our residents while helping the environment,” village mayor Amy Serrago said in a statement. “It’s a win-win situation. Our residents win because these programs can save them money. Our village wins cash prizes. The environment wins when we reduce our use of fossil fuels that create climate change. “

Doreen Harris, President and CEO of NYSERDA, praised Athens for its commitment to clean energy.

“The village of Athens continues to have a significant impact in the fight against climate change, and we applaud their strong leadership and continued commitment,” she said in a statement. “These actions reduce carbon emissions, save energy and will create a healthier, more sustainable future while helping New York State meet its climate and clean energy goals.” “

The village must choose which projects it intends to use public funds on by February, and the selected projects must start within six months and then be completed within three years.

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