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By Ryan Raicht
State Sen. Peter Harckham (D-Lewisboro) announced last week that he has authorized $2.1 million in electrification grants for municipalities throughout the 40th Senate District to help integrate clean energy into those communities.
Under the plan, each one of the 21 cities, towns or villages will receive the same grant for local officials to use to help electrify their communities to contribute to the state’s goal of a carbon-free electricity system by 2040.
“Every municipality in our district, including the County of Putnam, will receive a $100,000 grant to do with as they please in terms of electrifying their municipality,” Harckham said during the Aug. 9 press conference in front of the EV charging stations at Louis Engel Waterfront Park in Ossining. “It could be charging stations, municipality wide, for their residents, it could be electric vehicles, charging stations, it could be geo-thermal, solar panels…There’s a lot of things people could do.”
Harckham was joined by local officials from at least a dozen of the municipalities in the district, many of them expressing their gratitude for the grant. The money came from the state’s Community Resiliency, Economic Sustainability and Technology Program (CREST) funding.
“We are very thankful that Sen. Harckham has chosen to address climate issues and carbon reduction and taken an initiative to significantly reduce the greenhouse gasses in our commissions and our district,” said Ossining Town Supervisor Elizabeth Feldman.
Harckham is currently the chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, having served two full terms in the position. He has seen it all when it comes to climate action in the community.
“The Hudson Valley is the birthplace of the environmental movement and there have been terrific leaders from both parties when it comes to the environment,” Harckham said.
Harckham explained that the grants will provide the necessary opportunities for each municipality to go electric, which he says has minimal drawbacks.
“There are a lot of reasons to electrify our economy,” he said. “One could be the shocking news from climate scientists just recently, this July was the hottest month ever on record. Ocean temperatures over 100 degrees, threatening the currents that we have relied on for thousands of years. Another reason could be for public health…and it’s more cost-effective.”
Some municipalities in the district are farther along than others when it comes to electrification, but for those that are behind the curve, this grant is a way for them to start making up ground.
Briarcliff Manor has recently joined close to 400 other municipalities to become a climate-smart community, said village Trustee Rhea Mallett.
“We’re really excited to work towards our bronze certification, and this grant will help us tremendously, Mallett said. “Right now, we’re looking at many different options including our infrastructure, and we’ve already identified one building where this grant could help us save 30 to 40 percent f energy use per year.”
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