Southold is the first small municipality on Long Island to be named a Clean Energy Community, the town announced last week.
The designation from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority acknowledges the town’s efforts to reduce energy use, cutting costs and driving clean energy locally, according to a press release from the town.
Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said the town is proud to be the first small municipality on the island to earn the designation. The town is now eligible to apply for up to $100,000 toward clean energy projects.
“These initiatives not only help the environment, but they also save taxpayer dollars,” the supervisor said in the release. “The Town of Southold is committed to sustainable leadership and we are excited to pursue additional clean energy projects with the grant money awarded through the Clean Energy Communities program.”
The town had to complete four “high-impact clean energy actions” to be considered one of those communities, according to the press release. It earned the designation by adopting the unified solar permit — which was meant to streamline the approval process for installing solar — installing electric vehicle charging stations at different locations such as Town Hall, the Peconic Community School and the Mattituck Resource Center. The town also uses an electric car, a Nissan Leaf, as part of its fleet.
The town also established a local law to gauge the energy use of municipal buildings and trained town code compliance officers in the best practice for energy code enforcement.
Staff at the Community Development Corporation of Long Island offered Southold free assistance to develop clean energy goals and access guidance resources such as templates for legislation. The corporation is also available to help local leaders find available funding for projects, according to the press release.
Marianne Garvin, president and CEO of CDCLI, said Southold’s proactive environmental policies will benefit future generations.
“We are pleased to have been able to assist the Town of Southold in qualifying for this important designation through our work as a subcontractor under NYSERDA’s Clean Energy Communities Program, and we look forward to assisting other municipalities in achieving this milestone,” Ms. Garvin said in a statement.
Photo caption: An electric charging station at Town Hall, pictured in 2015. (Credit: Paul Squire, file)