NY Governor Announces $20 Million Prize Competition For Energy Projects

Feb. 18, 2015
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced funding for a new energy competition that will award up to $20 million for the most forward-thinking, advanced energy projects in Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers.

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced funding for a new energy competition that will award up to $20 million for the most forward-thinking, advanced energy projects in Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers. First proposed by the Governor in 2014, the projects aim to reduce energy costs by as much as $400 million annually, lower carbon emissions, and support clean energy technologies and jobs.

“This competition will allow regions to develop their best possible plan to bring their energy infrastructure into the 21st century," Governor Cuomo said. "It will not only save costs and reduce harmful carbon emissions, but create jobs and help our cities move toward a more sustainable future."

The total comprehensive effort, of which the competition is a part, is spearheaded by the New York Power Authority and designed to spur broader participation by the private sector in the State’s clean-energy economy.

Some of the anticipated outcomes include:

  • Revitalizing urban centers to attract new businesses and residents
  • Retrofitting city and community buildings
  • Improving the energy efficiency of outdoor lighting with light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures
  • Modifying zoning to promote alternate modes of transportation

Gil C. Quiniones, New York Power Authority President and Chief Executive Officer said, “We look forward to working closely with these cities to implement the groundbreaking energy plans and collaborate on innovative, energy-saving projects. By sharing our expertise, we can dramatically change how the state’s urban centers use energy, while simultaneously gaining significant environmental and economic benefits.”

The Governor is recommending that the New York Power Authority Board of Trustees, at their February meeting, approve the $20 million competition for a total of $35 million within the program.

To support implementation of the plans, Governor Cuomo also recommended the New York Power Authority:

  • Create five new energy manager positions to help implement and be accountable for the newly completed plans for each city
  • Establish an energy liaison position to serve as a vital link between New York State agencies and authorities and the five cities, and provide technical expertise and streamlined support
  • Finance grants to facilitate implementation, including initial startup costs and the “race-to-the-top” competition for carrying out large energy projects, showcasing new technologies and accelerating clean energy markets

The New York Power Authority will help the cities implement the plans and monitor their progress. These efforts will expand and build on other programs, including energy-efficiency financing, NY Energy Manager, and K-Solar, a program to install solar photovoltaic systems at schools statewide.

The Five Cities Energy Plans expand upon the BuildSmart NY program, established by Governor Cuomo in 2011. The cities will aim to improve energy efficiency 20 percent by 2020 for municipal buildings and 20 percent by 2030 citywide, including private buildings. The New York Power Authority is the lead agency for implementing BuildSmart NY, which mandates a 20-percent energy-efficiency increase in state-owned and managed buildings by 2020.

Jason Grumet, President of the Bipartisan Policy Center said, "New York State’s program is an example of what can be achieved by combining state data and resources with local creativity and business savvy. New York residents will get a more resilient, reliant and cost-effective system."

The Five Cities Energy Plans is part of Governor Cuomo’s strategic initiative, Reforming the Energy Vision. Under these agenda, New York State spurs clean energy innovation, brings in new investments and improves consumer choice while protecting the environment and energizing New York’s economy. By unleashing innovation, overcoming markets barriers and empowering communities, New York is pioneering a new statewide approach giving customers greater opportunities for energy savings, local power generation, and enhanced reliability. New Yorkers will benefit with access to a safe, clean and affordable energy infrastructure that creates jobs and provides economic development across the State.

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