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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a nation-leading initiative Monday between the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the state's investor-owned utilities for a new framework to increase access to energy efficiency and clean energy solutions for low-to-moderate income households and affordable multifamily buildings.

The collaborative partnership and investments made as part of this initiative will result in cleaner and healthier indoor air and more affordable energy options for households, including more than 350,000 low-to-moderate income households throughout the state. The framework, submitted to the New York State Department of Public Service, will more than double the number of low-to-moderate income households and multifamily buildings receiving energy efficiency services such as insulation, air sealing, electric load reduction, and HVAC improvements, annually and increase outreach, education, and community-based support programs for energy efficiency improvements.

"As we continue our fight against climate change, we must ensure that all New Yorkers have access to clean energy and are not left behind in the transition to a green economy, particularly those in our most vulnerable communities who most directly feel the harmful impacts of climate change and environmental degradation," Cuomo said. "This groundbreaking public-private partnership is a smart and innovative approach that will bring affordable, clean energy solutions directly into the homes of those who need them most, and make the lives of all New Yorkers safer and healthier."

This latest announcement supports New York's nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act and ensures that the CLCPA's goals are advanced in a just and equitable manner by providing access to clean energy solutions and improving energy affordability for LMI households and communities.

LMI households are disproportionately impacted by energy costs, with many experiencing an annual energy burden exceeding 20 percent of their household income. Dedicated resources and investments such as those announced today, coupled with the Public Service Commission's $250 million annual direct payment assistance program, are crucial in helping vulnerable New Yorkers control their energy costs and access the benefits of clean energy solutions.

The framework filed today includes a substantial increase in funding for low-to-moderate income energy efficiency, and outlines a comprehensive strategy between NYSERDA and New York's investor-owned utility companies including Central Hudson, Con Edison, National Fuel Gas, National Grid, NYSEG/RG&E, Orange & Rockland, with expanded funding in 2020 and new and modified programs beginning in 2021.

This statewide framework will invest nearly $1 billion through 2025 to advance energy efficiency in the LMI market segment, including:
  • Over $300 million to reduce energy burdens by increasing access to energy efficiency for LMI homeowners and renters;
  • More than $500 million to improve energy efficiency in affordable multifamily buildings;
  • $45 million for community-level engagement and capacity building with community-based organizations; and
  • $30 million for developing clean heating and cooling solutions for LMI homes and buildings through research and analysis of institutional barriers, and funding of pilots and demonstrations. This investment builds on New York's nation-leading push on building electrification with the recently approved New York State Clean Heat Implementation Plan that will invest nearly $700 million in building electrification solutions, including a variety of heat pump technologies.

These new initiatives will increase market demand and create new opportunities for clean energy workers with this monumental investment. Through the Clean Energy Fund, NYSERDA is offering a range of workforce development and training opportunities and will continue to work with the network of energy efficiency and Weatherization Assistance Program contractors. The workforce development and training will focus on priority populations and building workforce capacity at the community level. These include on-the-job training incentives, classroom courses, internships, partnerships with trades and unions, and targeted local workforce training to support LMI clean energy community campaigns.

Collectively, the investments announced today will result in:
  • Improved energy efficiency for LMI residents and affordable multifamily buildings totaling over 400 GWh and 6,000 MMBtu annually;
  • Reduced energy bills for program participants, totaling over $40 million annually;
  • Improved health outcomes for New Yorkers resulting from improved indoor air quality; and
  • An increase in households receiving energy efficiency services from approximately 30,000 per year to over 70,000 per year.
  • In New York, 3.2 million households or 40 percent of residents qualify as low-to-moderate income, have incomes at or below 80 percent of their area's median income. Buildings account for 45 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from fuel combustion and electric generation in New York State and today's commitment will help LMI residents and building owners reduce energy costs which supports the CLCPA goal to deliver 35-40 percent of the benefits of the clean energy investments to disadvantaged and low-to-moderate income communities.

NYSERDA is also offering $10 million in funding through Green Jobs - Green New York to support a Loan Loss Reserve Program prioritizing lending to support green jobs and lending for energy efficiency and renewable energy in communities across New York. This pilot program will have a direct benefit to underserved borrowers by reducing the risk for community-based financial institutions that loan money for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems installed in residential and multi-family buildings as well as in buildings used by small businesses and not-for-profits. The program will catalyze and expand clean energy financing and expand the availability of, and improve the terms for, financing products by requiring that a minimum of 35 percent of any residential loan portfolio be made available to consumers with lower credit scores or consumers with lower household income, and a minimum of 35 percent of any multifamily building loan portfolio be for affordable multifamily buildings.

In addition, NY Green Bank has been working collaboratively with Community Development Financial Institutions, housing agencies, affordable housing developers and operators, and other groups, and will launch a new initiative this fall aimed at making investments of at least $150 million to expand clean energy and energy efficiency solutions that benefit New York's affordable multifamily housing market. Financing will be directed toward new construction and preservation of the state's multifamily affordable housing market to spur greater energy performance. In doing so, NY Green Bank will be able to demonstrate to traditional lenders and financial institutions that greener affordable housing projects can be successfully financed and adopted by the market.

These initiatives also complement the work of the New York State Homes and Community Renewal's direct support and funding for low-to-moderate communities. For instance, in 2019 HCR launched the Weatherization Preservation Plus Program to reduce energy costs for multifamily buildings that receive federal or state rental assistance. Since 2011, Weatherization Program funds have ensured about 78,400 housing units in New York State have been made more energy efficient due to investments of over $506 million. HCR has also led the drive in the development of housing that has a positive impact on the environment and climate by being the first state in the U.S. to secure international certification of nearly $100 million in new Green Bonds. HCR's Housing Finance Agency continues to be the largest issuer of Climate Bonds globally and leverages data collected through its benchmarking program to inform multifamily building owners in how to make their buildings more sustainable.

NYSERDA Acting President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, "Today's announcement marks an important progression in a series of actions the state is taking to ensure no New Yorker, regardless of income, is denied access to energy efficiency services that provide more comfortable, clean and healthy living environments."

Today's announcement is the latest in a series of actions the State has taken to equitably transition to economy-wide carbon neutrality. The Public Service Commission issued an order earmarked $701 million to be spent by the state's investor-owned utilities by 2025, with $206 million allocated toward equitable access and benefits for lower-socio-economic and disadvantaged communities, to build enough electric vehicle charging stations and infrastructure to support New York's goal of having 850,000 EVs on the road by the end of that year. As part of this announcement, NYSERDA will propose competitions totaling $85 million designed to directly address emissions, equity and electrification in communities near high-density and congested streets and public highways. And last month, NYSERDA made available more than $10.6 million to help underserved New Yorkers access clean, affordable and reliable solar, representing the first step in implementing New York's Social Energy Equity Framework. Additionally, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced the appointment of the nine members of the Climate Justice Working Group to help guide the implementation of the CLCPA.

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