A Climate Smart Community –
A Climate Smart Community – The New York State Climate Smart Communities (CSC) Program is a network of New York communities engaged in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving climate resilience. Municipalities become involved with the CSC Program by adopting the CSC Pledge, which includes 10 elements that lead to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and provide guidance on climate change adaptation. Municipalities can opt to participate in the Climate Smart Certification Program, which has four certification levels: certified, bronze, silver and gold. Communities can access technical support and funding opportunities to reach their certification goals.
The City of Kingston achieved Bronze Climate Smart Community certification in 2014, and now Silver certification in 2018, both the highest levels achieved by any municipality in New York State. Kingston has completed a variety of adaptation and mitigation strategies to achieve this level, including appointing a commission, conducting a 2010 Greenhouse Gas Inventory and creating a 2020 Climate Action Plan. The Climate Action Plan outlines strategies and actions for the city to take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and set a goal for energy use reduction of 20% by 2020. To take the City’s commitment even further, in 2017, the City adopted Resolution #179 of 2017: Resolution of the Common Council of the City of Kingston, NY Committing to 100% Clean Energy by 2050 and Continuing Support of the Principles of the Paris Agreement.
2030 Climate Action Plan
The City of Kingston created Climate Action Plan 2030 (CAP), which provides a blueprint to build sustainable, resilient, and independent energy, food, economic, and social systems over the next 10 years. This plan is community-wide, bold, transformative, engaging, and capable of achieving sharp reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
2030 Climate Action Plan
See https://engagekingston.com/climate-action-plan for more information.
2018-2019 Building Energy Benchmarking Report
2019 GHG Emissions Inventory Report
2020 GHG Emissions Inventory Report
2020 Building Energy Benchmarking Report
A Clean Energy Community – An initiative of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the Clean Energy Communities Program provides funding and technical support to communities that are implementing energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable development projects. A community must complete four out of the 10 High Impact Actions that save energy and money, and contribute to lowering greenhouse gas emissions, to achieve the Clean Energy Community designation.
In 2017 the City of Kingston became the first city in New York to be designated a Clean Energy Community.
To earn the designation, the city by completed the following high-impact actions:
- Establishing a Clean Fleet by adding electric vehicles (EV) to the city fleet.
- Implementing a Benchmarking initiative that establishes a policy of data collection on energy use in
municipal buildings to identify opportunities to cut energy waste. The Environmental Protection
Agency’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager Program is a tool that the City of Kingston uses to benchmark
the performance of municipal buildings.
- 2018-2019 Benchmarking Report
- 2020 Benchmarking Report
- Resolution #21 of 2017
- Establishing the Energize NY Finance program, a loan to help commercial and non-profit property
owners to tackle energy upgrades and renewable energy projects. The loan is repaid through a special
charge on the property tax bill. Local Law #3 of 2015 Local Law #2 of 2019
- Earning Climate Smart Community certification. As an added incentive for receiving Clean Energy
Community certification, the City was awarded $100,000 by NYSERDA to complete an energy or
sustainability project (see CEC Grant in Table 1).
- In addition to these actions, Kingston is also a solar-friendly community. In 2015, the City of Kingston
participated in the Solarize Hudson Valley campaign, which was designed to make it easier for
households and small businesses to go solar. The Solarize Kingston campaign has ended, but residents
can access a Solar Guidebook and Kingston’s Solar Permit here.
Kingston Community Choice Aggregation
Community Choice Aggregation enables municipalities to supply residents and small businesses with accessible and affordable green energy. By pooling demand, a CCA allows municipalities to purchase clean energy at bulk rates while still maintaining delivery service from Central Hudson. Kingston’s CCA will allow us to:
- Secure lower energy prices locally
- Exercise more local control over energy resources
- Increase the percentage of renewables in the fuel mix
- Participate in guided energy efficiency programs, such as home weatherization, ground source heating and cooling, and solar power projects
Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) is a municipal energy procurement model that replaces the utility as the default supplier of electricity for virtually all homes and small businesses within Kingston. CCA puts control of choosing energy suppliers in our local hands. By pooling demand, our community will build the clout necessary to negotiate lower rates with private suppliers and be able to choose cleaner energy.
In Fall 2021, the City of Kingston adopted Local Law #3 of 2021 to authorize the adoption of a CCA program. In Fall 2022, the CCA program was launched. For full information about Kingston's CCA program, check out https://engagekingston.com/community-choice-aggregation
Clean Heating and Cooling Community Campaign
The City of Kingston has launched a Clean Heating and Cooling Campaign through NYSERDA's Clean Energy Communities Program encouraging the uptake of clean HVAC technologies in homes and businesses in Kingston.
Starting in Fall 2023, Mid-Hudson Energy Transition will lead a Healthy & Resilient Homes pilot project in Kingston, which will make an immediate difference in people’s lives, while collecting much-needed information to improve and standardize the program’s future energy efficiency and electrification projects. The pilot project will start with a comprehensive audit of homes to measure energy efficiency, air quality, deferred maintenance and other factors. After the audit, a small number of viable homes will be selected for retrofitting. The retrofitting process involves remediation, weatherization, energy efficiency, and pre-electrification (like electrical wiring upgrades) and will be done with no cost to tenants.
This pilot project is expected to identify effective and affordable measures that can be used to improve low-income households’ living conditions. The project will provide valuable insights into the retrofitting process, including cost, time, displacement during construction, and how to combine incentives. The research project will also measure improvements in air quality, decreased energy bills, increased comfort, and knowledge among homeowners. These outcomes will guide future efforts to improve low-income households’ living conditions.
If you are interested in participating in this pilot, please reach out to the Project Manager, Elisabeth Balachova, at [email protected].
After the pilot, Mid-Hudson Energy Transition will expand the pilot to be a citywide Healthy & Resilient Homes Program through Kingston Community Energy. MHET will provide project management support and financing for homeowners, landlords, renters, and small businesses to get fossil fuels out of their buildings and reduce environmental toxins (like lead, mold, and asbestos). This makes homes healthier, more comfortable, and less costly to operate. As always, our program prioritizes disadvantaged communities and aims to provide access to healthy living conditions and affordable energy for all residents.
100% Renewable Energy Transition Roadmap-
The City of Kingston aspires to a future based in sustainable, resilient and independent socioeconomic systems. Functional to this goal is the development of a renewable energy strategy that ensures the city's electricity supply is sourced from local and renewable resources.
In 2019, in partnership with the NoVo Foundation, the City of Kingston hired Cadmus and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to develop a long-term roadmap for the City to achieve 100% renewable and resilient community-wide electricity supply.
Research revealed a pathway for the City to achieve its 100% Renewable Energy goal by simultaneously pursing multiple strategies that can be categorized into four key pillars:
1) Pillar One: Foundational Policies and Programs
a)Reducing Permitting, Zoning and Inspection Processes
b) Adopting Solar-Ready Guidelines
c) Engaging the Community in Setting Energy Goals
d) Establishing Formal City-Utility Partnerships
e) Working with the Distribution Utility to Streamline Interconnection Processes
2) Pillar Two: Municipal Supply Mix Strategies
a) Purchasing Renewable Energy On-Site to Supply Operations
b) Procuring Renewable Energy from Retail Electricity Providers
c) Entering into Offsite Power Purchasing Agreements
d) Virtual Power Purchasing Agreements
3) Pillar Three: Community Choice Aggregation
4) Pillar Four: Scaling Solar Generation
City of Kingston 100% Renewable Energy Transition Roadmap
Energy Efficiency and PV Measures Analysis and Workforce Development Potential Summary
Energy Simulation Modeling Analysis for Central Fire
Energy Modeling Analysis for Metro Building
On April 10, 2018, the City of Kingston, New York joined the 100% Committed campaign in partnership with The Climate Reality Project: Hudson Valley and Catskills NY Chapter. Through this commitment, the City pledged to help our community shift to 100 percent renewable electricity.
Investing in Solar
The City of Kingston has received a Bronze designation from the national SolSmart program for encouraging the growth of clean, affordable solar energy at the local level.
As a SolSmart Bronze designee, Kingston has adopted nationally recognized best practices to advance solar market growth, and worked with SolSmart's no-cost technical assistance team to increase local knowledge of solar energy so the entire community can benefit. To achieve SolSmart Bronze designation, Kingston has posted an online checklist detailing the permitting process for residential rooftop solar, and has reviewed local zoning requirements and identified restrictions that intentionally or unintentionally prohibit solar energy development. These and other actions taken will make it faster, easier, and more affordable for residents, businesses, and nonprofit organizations to install solar in this community.
Since 2020, the City of Kingston has participated in local Community Solar Projects for a portion of our municipal accounts.
1) The Pointe Kingston Community Solar, at 243 Hurley Avenue (Pointe of Praise Church):28 panels/12,305.72 kWh
2) Community Solar Array on Albany Avenue, at 241-243 Albany Avenue (Radio Kingston): 100 panels
Beginning in June, 2021, the City of Kingston launched Solarize Kingston, in partnership with Ulster County and the Solarize Ulster Campaign, to provide opportunities for Kingston residents to enroll in Community Solar Programs. More info can be found at www.kingston-ny.gov/SolarizeKingston.
As of September 1, 2021, 38 customers have enrolled in this program in Kingston alone.
In 2012, the City, with a local Eagle Scout, installed the City's first solar array system on municipal property, at the Forsyth Nature Center. 5 panels/1.2 kW
In 2018, the second solar array was installed, also at the Forsyth Nature Center. 20 panels/4.8 kW
In 2022, a new rooftop solar system was installed on the Andy Murphy Center, offsetting 110% of the building's electricity demands.