Great Neck Plaza gains Clean Energy Community status

Great Neck Plaza gains Clean Energy Community status
The village's 2017 Nissan Leaf, an electric car, sits parked at a public charging station in a garage. (Photo courtesy of Great Neck Plaza)

The Village of Great Neck Plaza was designated a Clean Energy Community by the state last week, joining the ranks of municipalities recognized for taking environmentally friendly actions to reduce energy consumption.

Great Neck Plaza received the designation by completing four of ten actions noted by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, or NYSERDA, as part of the Clean Energy Communities initiative launched in August 2016.

The designation gives Great Neck Plaza a chance to receive $5,000 and apply for funding of up to $250,000 to toward other clean energy projects, which would come from the Clean Energy Fund and Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

“We’re thrilled that the village has been designated a Clean Energy Community and look forward to working with NYSERDA on continuing to reduce our energy use, reduce [greenhouse gas] emissions, and implement clean energy initiatives as identified in our Climate Action Plan,” Mayor Jean Celender said.

The village’s four actions included a streamlining of the approval of solar-based projects, adopting a policy to track and report energy use in municipal buildings, using an electric vehicle and having a code officer finish energy code enforcement training.

The Village of Great Neck Plaza first adopted its Climate Action Plan in February 2016. The place called for reducing greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2020 to be below 2015 levels, utilizing motion sensors, and other actions.

The LED light installation and the pursuit of Climate Smart Communities Certification, both items on the village’s action plan, are among the six other actions a municipality can take to earn Clean Energy Community status.

This plan followed the village’s adoption of the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Climate Smart Communities pledge in October 2012.

“I commend the Village of Great Neck Plaza for its commitment to reducing energy use while promoting clean energy alternatives in their community,” Alicia Barton, the president and CEO of NYSERDA, said.

The other actions a municipality could take include engaging in a campaign to jointly purchase materials required for solar projects, creating a finance program for energy efficiency, and giving the government the ability to “procure energy supply service and distributed energy resources for eligible energy consumers in the community,” according to NYSERDA.

Across New York state, about 188 communities – villages, towns and cities – have Clean Energy Community status.

Great Neck Plaza is one of 24 entities and 13 villages on Long Island to hold the designation, according to NYSERDA’s website. Roslyn, Williston Park, and Roslyn Harbor are the only other North Shore communities to have Clean Energy Community status.

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