Four CCE county offices tapped to lead NYS clean energy work
By Melissa Jo Hill
Four Cornell Cooperative Extension county offices are leading statewide efforts to establish a network of Regional Clean Energy Hubs as part of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s $52 million initiative to connect local communities with clean energy resources.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) selected hubs in every economic development region through a competitive application process. Each hub will unify the region’s clean energy resources and build on the extensive relationships, expertise and experience of CCE associations and other partnering agencies over the next four years.
In total, there will be 12 regional hubs across New York, with CCE as lead agency in the Southern Tier (CCE Tompkins County), Mohawk Valley (CCE Oneida County) and Mid-Hudson Valley (CCE Dutchess County) regions, as well as Long Island (CCE Nassau County). The Capital region hub will be led by Affordable Housing Partnership in collaboration with CCE Albany County. Each hub received funding to create education and outreach programming to ensure equitable access to clean energy services. Award totals to CCE hubs were:
- Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County, $4 million
- Cornell Cooperative Extension of Dutchess County, $4.1 million
- Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County, $3.3 million
- Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, $3.5 million
Through new strategic regional partnerships within the clean energy ecosystem, CCE offices will have greater capacity to connect, coordinate, and deliver clean energy education services to communities. The project supports Hochul’s nation-leading climate goals outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, as well as the state’s commitment to deliver at least 35% of the benefits from clean energy investments to disadvantaged communities to advance more equitable clean energy transition for all New Yorkers.
“Through education and community outreach, we are investing in the people of our communities and in the future of New York State,” said Mary Beth McEwen, executive director of CCE Oneida County, which will be heading up the hub in the Mohawk Valley. “We look forward to connecting with community members, small businesses and affordable housing owners about the benefits of clean energy, ways to reduce energy costs and how to make more informed energy decisions.”
CCE Tompkins County Senior Resource Educator Karim Beers is coordinating the Southern Tier region. “By making clean-energy programs more accessible and efficient, we are helping residents of disadvantaged communities’ access and benefit from the opportunities provided by New York’s clean energy transition,” he said.
“With our presence and partnerships that connect communities, counties and regions across the state, CCE is uniquely qualified to advance Gov. Hochul’s climate initiatives,” said Chris Watkins, CCE director. “This is an opportunity to leverage those relationships to build a more sustainable future for all New Yorkers.”
Melissa Jo Hill is a writer for Cornell Cooperative Extension.