New York State named the Town of Hempstead a Clean Energy Community earlier this month, a designation that qualifies the town for $150,000 in grant funding to pursue additional renewable energy projects.
Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino made the announcement on March 13 at a news conference at the town’s renewable energy park in Point Lookout, where he was joined by Town Council members Dorothy Goosby and Anthony D’Esposito.
“Our municipal leadership in the field of renewable energy will advance even further thanks to our new municipality’s distinction as a New York State clean energy community,” Santino said. “I am proud that the state recognized our government’s hard work.”
Santino said that the town is the first municipality in Nassau County to earn the distinction by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and qualified for the grant due to its “leadership in the field of renewable energy.”
“We plan to use the funds for solar applications for various town facilities,” Santino said. “Specific sites have not been selected, but we are focused on parks and other government buildings.”
“Congratulations to the Town of Hempstead on their Clean Energy Community designation and for taking control of their clean energy future,” added John Rhodes, president and chief executive officer of NYSERDA. “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, we are empowering community leaders to drive broader adoption of renewable energy and clean technologies to protect the environment and cut energy costs.”
Santino said that the town has already established about a dozen solar applications, including a 40Kw unit on the roof of Town Hall, a solar and wind-powered shellfish nursery in Point Lookout, solar car ports and charging stations, hi-tech solar tracking devices at the renewable energy park, a solar field, and a variety of applications at town parks and the municipality’s highway yard.
Santino added that the NYSERDA designation did not come easy, and cited four key initiatives that led to the town’s new status.
First, the town implemented a unified solar permitting initiative, which freezes permit fees for homeowners and business owners who wish to install solar technology at a low rate of $100. The permitting process has also been streamlined for quick processing.
The town also installed a compressed natural gas and hydrogen fueling station that powers natural gas and fuel cell vehicles.
The third effort was the town’s massive conversion of 50,000 streetlamps from conventional bulbs to high efficiency LED fixtures. The town said that the new fixtures would save taxpayers $43 million over 20 years, largely as a result of the reduced energy usage associated with the new lighting elements.
Finally, the state recognized the town’s implementation of energy code enforcement training for the municipality’s building inspectors. The training promotes energy efficient construction of new homes and commercial structures.
“It is exciting to work hard to create a cleaner environment for our families and future generations,” stated Santino.