GovernorCuomo Photo: Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York/Flickr

Fresh off the heels of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s third climate change panel announcement, Governor Andrew Cuomo has made an environmentally conscious announcement of his own.

Governor Cuomo will award 83 communities across New York State with approximately $100,000 each to support clean energy and resiliency efforts. The awards are part of Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy, which involved a microgrid competition to help foster community-based power in the state.

“New Yorkers have first-hand experience regarding the need for resilient and efficient power systems that can withstand whatever Mother Nature has in store for us,” Governor Cuomo said. “This funding will help communities across New York invest in these new systems, which will ensure critically important institutions such as police and fire stations, hospitals and schools can continue operating during and in the aftermath of an extreme weather event.”

The 83 communities will all be studying the feasibility of a community microgrid, or an energy system which can operate without the main grid in the case of a power outage.

The hope is that community microgrids will integrate renewable energy with existing systems to create a faster, more efficient and more environmentally conscious grid.

New York State Chairman of Energy and Finance Richard Kauffman said that Governor Cuomo’s plan has come at the right time for residents of the state.

“The overwhelming response from communities across the state is yet another sign Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy is responding to the needs of New Yorkers,” he said. “The NY Prize competition brings together local leadership and private sector innovation to develop clean, resilient and affordable power solutions for communities from the South Fork on Long Island to Buffalo and the North Country.”

Award recipients include local governments, community organizations, non-profit entities, for-profit companies and municipally-owned utilities. The winning projects had to be integrated into utility networks and  serve several customers, including at least one critical infrastructure customer which could be a hospital, police station, fire station or a water treatment facility.

Storm Recovery Interim Executive Director Lisa Bova-Hiatt said it’s crucial to develop an improved resiliency plan because of the recent rise in the number of storms and natural disasters happening in the state.

“The increase in severe weather over the past few years has made it necessary for vulnerable regions across the state to find better ways to prepare and protect infrastructure, community facilities, homes, schools and businesses from power outages,” she said.

Ideally, more innovative technologies will be developed in the coming months to better prepare for future severe weather events in the state.

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