Cheektowaga designated as a Clean Energy Community

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. – The Town of Cheektowaga has been designated as a Clean Energy Community by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority paving the way for the Town to apply for up to $250,000 in grant money to be used for other clean energy projects.

Town of Cheektowaga Supervisor Diane Benczkowski is proud that the Town achieved the designation and says the Town will continue to look for real energy savings that will benefit both the environment and the taxpayers.

“With this designation, Cheektowaga is leading the way for other communities across Western New York and New York State to adopt clean energy standards and reduce our energy footprint,” said Ms. Benczkowski.

To achieve the Clean Energy Community designation the Town had to complete four out of ten “high impact” clean energy solutions suggested by NYSERDA.  Over the past several months they adopted a unified solar permit process, completed energy code training for the Town’s code enforcement officers, made clean energy upgrades to town-owned properties that accounted for a 10% reduction in energy use and purchased an $8,000 electric vehicle.  The Town will also work with NYSERDA to install an electric car charging station this fall.

The Clean Energy Community designation builds upon the work the Town has completed dating back to 2010 when they installed solar panels to power Town buildings and switching to cost efficient LED bulbs inside the buildings according to Councilmember James Rogowski, Chairman of the Utilities and Energy Committee.

Since early 2017, a working group comprised of Camille Brandon of lobbyist firm Bolton-St. Johns, Assistant Town Engineer Peter Johnston, Supervising Code Enforcement Officer Richard Coburn and Town Planner Daniel Ulatowski worked with Jason Kulaszewski the Clean Energy Coordinator at the UB Regional Institute to develop clean energy goals for the Town.

Receiving the designation now allows the Town to apply for $250,000 in grant money from the state – one of two awards other Western New York communities with over 40,000 residents were competing for – Amherst won the other.    

The group will now begin the process of choosing a new clean energy project to be completed within the Town.  The Town must submit an application to NYSERDA within 90 days and receive final approval to receive $250,000 towards the project.

The $16 million Clean Energy Communities initiative supports local government leaders across the state to implement energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainable development projects in their communities to help reach the state’s goal of having 50 percent of the state’s electricity be produced by renewable energy resources by 2030.