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NYSERDA: $10 million available for carbon neutral community economic development projects


Mon, Jun 5th 2023 01:45 pm

Funding to advance building decarbonization work and stimulate economic development

√ Supports state’s Climate Act goals, including 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and ensuring at least 35% – with a goal of 40% – of the benefits from investments be directed to disadvantaged communities

Submitted by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced $10 million available under the fifth round of the carbon neutral community economic development program as part of round XIII of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative announced on May 15.

Projects funded through this program are advancing decarbonization and stimulating economic development in disadvantaged communities in support of the state's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85% by 2050 and ensure at least 35% – with a goal of 40% – of the benefits of clean energy investments be directed to disadvantaged communities.

NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “The carbon neutral community economic development program provides critical statewide support for community revitalization through building projects that incorporate energy efficiency, electrification and renewable energy efforts. By addressing emissions from key buildings within communities, we are advancing the transformation needed to ensure vibrant healthy living, recreation and workspaces for all New Yorkers.”

The carbon neutral community economic development program is administered by NYSERDA in partnership with Empire State Development (ESD) and the New York State Department of State’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative. It provides incentives with focused support for projects located in disadvantaged communities and Downtown Revitalization Initiative districts, to reduce emissions and improve quality of life for residents and visitors. In addition, NYSERDA prioritizes investments in building modernization projects that result in jobs that provide family-sustaining wages and benefits, helping to support the transition to a clean energy economy.

The deadline for applications is 4 p.m. Friday, July 28, 2023. Interested proposers can find more information or apply to this program here.

The fifth round of the carbon neutral community economic development program includes two categories in which funding is available:

•Category A: Eligible New York state commercial, industrial, institutional, municipal and mixed-use site owners may apply for incentives for the construction of high-performance buildings, or renovation of existing buildings to high performance standards, that demonstrate how the approach is replicable to more buildings in a reliable, cost-effective way. The decarbonization of an existing central plant is also eligible. Project awards will be up to 75% of eligible costs or $2 million, whichever is less. 

•Category B: Eligible communities, neighborhoods, campuses and owners of large real estate portfolios in New York state with projects of at least 500,000 square-feet (of new construction or rehabilitation), or a total project implementation cost of at least $50 million, may apply for incentives for the planning, energy modeling and design necessary to convert the proposed building portfolio to achieve carbon neutral or net zero energy performance. Project awards will be up to 75% of the eligible costs, with a maximum project award amount of $2 million.

A total of 50 projects have been awarded to date through the carbon neutral community economic development program, with over $56 million in incentives since it was launched in 2018. Six of the 10 projects awarded in 2022, and 20 of the 50 projects receiving funding from the first four rounds, are examples of adaptive reuse of an existing building to carbon neutral performance. These projects maintain the heritage and local character of New York communities, demonstrate the feasibility of applying clean energy technologies to existing buildings, and have lower embodied carbon than new construction. They often serve as the anchor project for surrounding neighborhood redevelopment. 

Buildings account for more than a third of greenhouse gas emissions in New York state, and most of the state’s current building stock was constructed before energy codes were passed and were, therefore, not constructed to be energy-efficient. Decarbonizing buildings will help improve building resiliency, occupant health and productivity.

The 2023 funding round for the carbon neutral community economic development program is part of the state’s consolidated funding application (CFA), enabling businesses, municipalities, not-for-profits and the public to apply for assistance through a single application from dozens of state programs for job-creation and community development projects. It is designed to give project applicants expedited and streamlined access to a combined pool of grant funds and tax credits from dozens of existing programs.

Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) will review projects and provide scores that reflect how well a project aligns with a region's goals and strategies.

The REDC process continues to support and empower regional stakeholders in developing strategic plans and funding priorities that meet local economic needs. To date, through the REDCs, more than $7.5 billion has been awarded to more than 9,200 job creation and community development projects consistent with each region's strategic plan.

Funding is available through the state's 10-year, $6 billion Clean Energy Fund and through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

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