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Sustainable Westchester Celebrates The Fifth Anniversary Of Its Westchester Power Program

Working in collaboration with 28 participating municipalities, Westchester Power supplies electricity to approximately 115,000 households and small businesses. The program has cut approximately 775,000 metric tons of carbon emissions since 2016.
Working in collaboration with 28 participating municipalities, Westchester Power supplies electricity to approximately 115,000 households and small businesses. The program has cut approximately 775,000 metric tons of carbon emissions since 2016. Photo Credit: Contributed

Sustainable Westchester marks the fifth anniversary of its Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program, known as Westchester Power. The program allows municipalities to negotiate a fixed-rate clean, renewable electricity supply on behalf of local residents and small businesses.

"On this fifth anniversary of the Westchester Power program, we should particularly appreciate the clarity of vision displayed by Westchester municipalities in the formation of this cornerstone of the community energy movement,” said Nina Orville, Executive Director, Sustainable Westchester. “The next steps take us deeper into the energy ecosystem and require even closer collaboration. Sustainable Westchester is excited to be working on the tools and program structures to facilitate that, and importantly, to increase access to the benefits of the clean energy transition."

Sustainable Westchester is a non-profit membership organization comprised of 44 municipalities and the county itself in Westchester County. It offers a range of solutions and programs to create vibrant, healthy communities including Westchester Power, the first CCA program in New York State.

Mayor Tom Roach of the City of White Plains said, "In White Plains we are committed to a greener and more sustainable future. Our sustainability initiatives have produced tangible benefits for our residents, our community, and for the environment. Our 9-site community solar program will generate 6.8 megawatts of power annually. The adoption of the unified solar permit resulted in an explosion of new solar residential installations. We have built a network of electric vehicle charging stations in all municipally owned parking structures and lots throughout the city. Community Choice Aggregation has mitigated nearly 775,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, [through the end of 2020], the equivalent to taking 168,000 cars off the road in one year. Participation in Westchester Power gives residents the opportunity to access 100% renewable energy at a fixed rate. We will continue to look at every opportunity to foster positive change and address the climate crisis."

Since its inception, elected officials from 28 local governments have chosen to enroll their communities into the Westchester Power program. Whether motivated by a desire to meet local climate goals, provide more energy options, or ensure strong consumer protections, Westchester Power is helping communities achieve their energy goals. Westchester Power has grown to be the default electricity supply for approximately 115,000 homes and small businesses in communities throughout Westchester County. All but two participating municipalities have chosen 100 percent New York renewable energy to be the default electricity supply for their communities. As a result, Westchester Power has created significant environmental benefits, eliminating approximately 775,000 metric tons of carbon emissions.

Doreen M. Harris, President and CEO, NYSERDA said, “Congratulations to the Westchester Power Program on celebrating its fifth anniversary of helping communities advance their clean energy future to lower carbon emissions and fight climate change. In addition to helping residents and businesses reduce their carbon footprint, participating in this program allows local communities in Westchester to demonstrate clean energy leadership and take a tangible step toward being designated as a Clean Energy Community in New York State.”

Communities throughout New York State that implement a 100 percent New York renewable energy CCA may earn credit for a high-impact action under NYSERDA’s Clean Energy Communities program and support New York State’s climate and clean energy goals under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Launched by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in August 2016, Clean Energy Communities helps drive stronger community leadership to reduce harmful carbon emissions, expand assistance for disadvantaged areas and foster further investments in the growing clean energy economy. For more information about Clean Energy Communities, visit www.nyserda.ny.gov/cec.

“Our focus has been to expand access to clean energy to the residents and small businesses of Westchester County,” said Dan Welsh, Program Director, Westchester Power at Sustainable Westchester. “The elected officials of participating communities should be commended for their leadership and commitment to broad-based participation in the transition to clean energy. At Sustainable Westchester, we look forward to continued engagement and to bringing considerable environmental benefits to the community at large.”

CCA was first enabled in New York State in 2016 by an order of the New York State Public Service Commission. Significant and targeted education and outreach is conducted in every CCA community. Under CCA, eligible electricity accounts in participating communities are automatically enrolled into the program. Customers can opt out at any time without fee or penalty. Delivery of energy, billing, and response to any service interruptions remains the responsibility of the local utility. Fixed-rate pricing for clean, renewable energy is secured through a competitive auction or bidding process.

Further program information can be found at https://sustainablewestchester.org/wp.

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