On Dec. 17, 13 mayors across the country were honored for their efforts to address the climate crisis as part of the 2021 Mayors Climate Protection Awards. City of White Plains Mayor Tom Roach was among the honorees for the city’s Community Solar project, which is the largest municipal energy project in Westchester County.
“To address the climate crisis, action is needed at all levels,” Roach said. “We are thrilled to be recognized with other communities for this Climate Protection award from the U.S. Conference of Mayors and will continue to do our part locally.”
In March 2021, White Plains broke ground on a nine-project, 6.8-megawatt community solar portfolio that would triple the amount of solar energy produced in Westchester County.
The nine solar projects included a mix of canopy, rooftop and ground-mount installations at four parking garages, the Ebersole Ice Rink, Gedney Way Recycling Facility, Gillie Park, the Water Department and the Sanitation Complex. Systems at the Recycling Facility and Shapham Place parking garage would also include energy storage as part of the installations.
These projects support New York’s goal of installing 6,000 megawatts of solar by 2025, as called for in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
This year marked the 15th class of winners to be honored for exemplary city programs demonstrating how local climate action can reduce energy use and carbon emissions and protect local communities. Mayoral awards were given through a partnership between the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and Walmart.
“In a year of renewed international and national deliberations over how to reduce our global carbon dependency, it is the mayors who are leading the way and showing us the path forward through local climate action,” Tom Cochran, USCM CEO and Executive Director, said. “These mayors remind all of us that local climate action is a difference-maker. The creativity and imagination in crafting these local initiatives should serve as an inspiration to others, especially for leaders in our nation’s capital.”
White Plains was among three other small city honorees — Issaquah, Salem and San Leandro. Large city honorees included Anaheim, Henderson, New York City, Orlando, Reno, San Antonio and San Diego. Top honors went to mayors in Houston and Beverly.
“We applaud these award-winning mayors for their strong climate leadership and successful local action, showing how we can confront our growing climate challenges,” Amy Hill, Senior Director for Walmart, said. “We are especially attuned to the actions of this year’s winners — developing solar energy to power city operations and “electrifying” the transportation sector — which are top priorities for our company in reducing our carbon output.”
White Plains has a dedicated track record when it comes to renewable energy within its city limits. In 2014, the city became one of the first municipalities to adopt the New York State Unified Solar Permit, which expedited residential solar permitting. In 2017, White Plains was designated a Clean Energy Community by the New York State Energy Research Development Authority.
Bailey has journalism experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties and New York City on topics related to LGBTQ+ issues, women’s rights, climate change, the environment, and local politics. They have been a full-time reporter with Examiner Media since July 2021. Read more details from Bailey’s bio here. Read Bailey’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/baileyhosfelt/