In celebration of Arbor Day, the New York Power Authority (NYPA) today launched Tree Power 2.0, a program for customers that provides a one-to-one match for tree plantings at customer locations to increase native biodiversity and natural carbon storage. The program expands on the Authority’s ongoing environmental stewardship practices by strategically planting native trees at Power Authority customer locations throughout the state. The Tree Power program, which initially offered participants a tree match for seven varieties, will now offer nearly 30 native varieties to an expanded customer base at more eligible locations. In accordance with NYPA’s sustainability program goals and in line with New York’s Climate Act and NYPA’s Environmental Justice (EJ) program’s objectives, Tree Power 2.0 will prioritize donating and maintaining trees in disadvantaged communities across New York State.
“On Arbor Day, NYPA is doubling its efforts to inspire New Yorkers to plant, nurture and celebrate trees—recognizing the significance of nature-based solutions that help our customers meet their sustainability goals,” said NYPA Interim President & CEO Justin E. Driscoll. “Tree Power 2.0 expands NYPA’s ability to give back to communities, including those that are underserved, by adding the precious resource of trees at more customer sites throughout the state.”
NYPA’s Tree Power program, first established in 1991, helped customers plant trees to provide wind breaks and shading, which in turn reduced building energy use. A photo of one of the program’s first tree plantings can be found here. That same silver maple tree was also photographed in 2004 and 2022.
Following the passage of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (known as the CLCPA or the Climate Act) in July 2019, NYPA’s Sustainability Department recognized the critical role of the Tree Power program in enabling NYPA and its customers to meet CLCPA goals through natural carbon sequestration, leading to the development of Tree Power 2.0.Through Tree Power 2.0, eligible NYPA customers now include municipal electric utilities, rural electric cooperatives, New York City and Westchester County governmental customers and BuildSmart NY 2025 customers—which includes all New York State agencies, and SUNY and CUNY institutions.
For every tree that a customer purchases to plant, NYPA will offer a one-to-one tree match up to $2,000 in value. To support the biodiversity of New York State, NYPA’s Sustainability Department has selected native tree varieties that provide specific habitat value to benefit the region’s ecosystem of insects, birds, and mammals, while also storing carbon. Customers can work with the selected vendor to identify the species that are best suited for their planting zones. The vendor will provide cost estimates, timeframes for placing orders, and coordinate the delivery of trees to participating customers.
In 2021, the Power Authority partnered with nearly 30 customers through its Tree Power program, supporting the planting of more than 1,000 trees across New York and sequestering more than 10 tons of carbon emissions. Tree Power 2.0’s expanded perimeters will allow the Power Authority to serve 50 customers across New York State. Since 2016, more than 4,000 trees have been planted through the program.