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The Capital Region’s Planning Effort

A coalition of Capital Region municipalities and organizations has received funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to create a regional sustainability plan as part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Cleaner, Greener Communities Program. The City of Albany will lead the planning process for the Capital Region and will provide required reporting to the state. This planning effort will:

  • Assess current greenhouse gas emissions and energy use, along with available natural resources and economic assets, liabilities, and opportunities
  • Set sustainability targets for energy supplies, transportation, waste and water management, land use, housing, agriculture, economic development, and open space
  • Develop a sustainability plan outlining the short- and long-term actions our region can take to achieve targets and goals
  • Prioritize eligible projects that can apply for Cleaner, Greener Communities implementation funding.

This effort will enable us to more effectively align plan goals with the strategic planning efforts being done by the Capital Region’s Regional Economic Development Council. It will also help prioritize projects that will have the greatest opportunity to enhance the economic health of our region, while reducing carbon emissions, saving energy, and speeding the deployment of renewable energy.

About the Cleaner, Greener Communities Program

To meet the needs of residents both today and in the future, New York must find innovative ways for its residents and businesses to live, operate and grow while using fewer resources thereby reducing their impact on the environment.

The Cleaner, Greener Communities Program was announced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in his 2011 State of the State address.  The Program empowers regions to create more sustainable communities by funding smart development practices. Planning teams are partnering with public and private experts across a wide range of fields, along with community residents, to lead the development of regional sustainability plans and to implement the projects that will significantly improve the economic and environmental health of their areas. This effort will guide integrated, sustainable solution -- from statewide investments to regional decision-making on land use, housing, transportation, infrastructure, energy, and environmental practices -- to improve our quality of life.

Communities are made up of complicated systems -- housing, transportation, air, energy -- that provide us with the necessities we need to thrive. In the past, environmental policy and plans for these systems were created separately. Cleaner, Greener Communities promotes smarter development practices by funding sustainability planning at the regional level. Regional planning teams can partner with state and federal agencies, municipalities, non-profit organizations, private businesses and residents to break down barriers and develop a sustainability plan that reflects their area’s needs. This partnering will help to create more integrated, sustainable solutions and accelerate investment and actual development. 

Funding for Cleaner, Greener Communities is administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect our environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York since 1975.

Through this Program NYSERDA will provide $100 million in funding to help New York’s 10 regions establish sustainability plans and adopt smart development practices. NYSERDA will administer the funding to regions through a two-phase competitive grant process:

  • Phase I provides nearly $10 million in funding to regional planning teams to create comprehensive sustainability plans or to expand the scope of existing sustainability plans. Up to $1 million per region is being awarded. Grants are awarded to a municipality (county, city, town, village, Indian tribe or nation within New York State), acting on behalf of a consortium of other municipalities located in one of the 10 regions defined by the Regional Economic Development Council (REDC).
  • Phase II provides up to $90 million toward regional projects that support the regional sustainability goals identified during the planning process, and provide the greatest opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save energy and deploy renewable energy, while improving the economic and environmental health of our communities. Phase II is expected to launch in 2013.