The Town of Guilderland has embarked upon a number of environmental initiatives to address climate change and provide residents with options for reusable energy at reduced costs. These initiatives also seek to protect environmentally sensitive areas, and promote a "green infrastructure" of hiking and biking trails to connect neighborhoods with destinations. Here are summaries of each initiative with more to come.
The Town’s Commitment to Sustainable Energy
In 2018, the Town was recognized as a “Clean Energy Community” by the NYS Energy Research Development Agency (“NYSERDA”) and received a grant for green energy actions based upon the Town’s clean energy initiatives in: (1) adopting the State’s unified building permit application for building solar installations; (2) utilizing NYSERDA’s software to monitor the Town’s energy usage; and (3) installing a free EV dual charging station at Town Hall.
In 2019, the Town was recognized as a “Climate Smart Community” by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation based upon the Town’s pledge to address the effects of climate change by enacting climate-smart land use principles, setting goals for climate action, decreasing energy use and shifting to renewable energy.
Community Choice Aggregation
The Town is actively exploring its participation in the Community Choice Aggregation (“CCA”) program which would allow the Town to join with other municipalities, including, but not limited, to the Towns of Bethlehem and New Scotland, and the Villages of Altamont and Voorheesville, for the bulk purchase of electric power on behalf of residents from energy services companies ("ESCO"). The CCA supports the use of renewable energy for electrical power and provides for price stability.
Under the CCA program, you will still receive a bill from National Grid. Your electric bill will have the same two charges for delivery services and supply services. National Grid will remain responsible for the delivery services, including maintenance and handling calls for outages. Supply services includes the cost of electricity which will be provided by the ESCO selected by the Town. More detailed information about the CCA program is available on NYSERDA’s website. Here are some helpful short videos about the CCA program:
The Town Board entered into an agreement with Muncipal Electric & Gas Alliance (MEGA) as the Town's administrator for the CCA program. MEGA has provided a helpful list of FAQs. MEGA presented a public information seminar at the Town Board’s November 19, 2019 meeting and will provide another public session at the Guilderland Public Library on December 4, 2019 at 6:00 pm. At its December 17, 2019 meeting, the Town Board adopted a local law to participate in the CCA program. In early 2020, the Town Board will also consider the draft CCA implementation plan and opt-out letter.
Community Solar Facilities
In 2019, the Town partnered in a community solar installation in Amsterdam which has resulted in substantial energy credits for the Town in its National Grid bills.
In 2018, the Town worked with the Environmental Protection Agency on best uses for the Town's closed landfill (now the Town's Transfer Station). The EPA produced a Solar Study which led to the Town exploring solar energy uses for the policy. In mid 2019, the Town retained Solomon Energy to issue a request for proposals from solar energy providers. Solomon later provided the Town Board with a detailed assessment of the responses. In late 2019, the Town Board awarded an option agreement with GE Solar for leasing the Town’s closed landfill for the installation of a solar facility. During the option period, GE Solar will investigate the landfill's conditions and determine the extent of its solar facility. The Town and GE Solar will later negotiate and enter to a lease agreement.
Open Space Preservation
The Town has over 700 acres of open space with over 200 of these acres acquired in the past three years. This open space will allow creation of a “green infrastructure” of multi-use trails connecting neighborhoods, schools, and businesses, and protecting stream corridors (www.timesunion.com/news/article/Rail-Trail-grows-in-Guilderland-12969841.php). This open space helped rank the Town as the “most desirable” upstate community by young adults (www.timesunion.com/photogallery/article/Guilderland-rated-most-desirable-for-young-13172050.php).
In 2018, the Town created a Transit-Oriented Development District (“TOD”) which focuses upon CDTA’s regional transit center at Crossgates Mall and the underutilized ring road with direct access to the interstate highway system. The TOD District encourages sustainable development with more dense residential development within walking distance of the transit center and shopping. The creation of the TOD was a core recommendation in the Westmere Corridor Study (2017).
In 2019, the Town established a new water connection with Rotterdam with a pump station designed to allow water flow in both directions between the two communities. This municipal interconnection is the latest Town effort to diversify water sources to meet an ever-increasing demand for our growing Town. This new water resource will substantially reduce electricity and chemical treatments costs at the Town’s water filtration plant.
Conversion of Lights to LED
In 2019, the Town used a NYSERDA grant awarded to the Town under the “Clean Energy Community" program to convert lights at Town Hall and parking lot to LED. The Town has converted lights at its two ambulance stations to LED.
In 2020, the Town anticipates purchasing 603 luminaries from National Grid, and converting the lights to LED. The Town is working with the NYS Power Authority on this project. To reduce costs, the Town is partnering with New Scotland, Altamont and Voorheesville on a combined effort to maintain the LED lights.
Conservation Easement Program
The Town Board has commenced a Conservation Easement (“CE”) program which provides property tax benefits to owners interested in protecting farmlands and sensitive areas. The CE program complements the Town’s other environmental tools including planned unit developments, country hamlets, and conservation subdivisions.