Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced $30 million in the first round of funding for the implementation of regional sustainability plans, including a plan recently endorsed by the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council. The plans were developed under the governor's $100 million Cleaner, Greener Communities program, a major statewide initiative to invest in smart growth planning and sustainability.
"This first round of funding will put each region's sustainability plans to action," Gov. Cuomo said. "Through the Cleaner, Greener Communities program, regions across the state have developed plans from the bottom up, building on their assets and identifying needs, to create green jobs for New Yorkers while investing in projects that improve energy efficiency and reduce pollution. These plans will help accelerate our clean energy economy and improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers."
VisionCNY, as the plan is called, outlines the region's vision, goals and objectives for a sustainable future, identifies a number of regional assets and makes recommendations for building on those assets.
A consortium of dozens of municipal leaders and organizations completed the plan, which estimates that, if fully implemented, the plan will help generate thousands of jobs in Central New York while lowering energy costs by nearly $1 billion and eliminating 4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and associated greenhouse gas emissions.
The plan sets out a vision for sustainable development that includes strategic recommendations designed, among other things, to achieve smart growth and improve resiliency, preserve open space, increase energy efficiency and renewable energy generation, achieve a self-sufficient "zero waste" future, improve water quality and water efficiency, and create jobs.
· Energy conservation recommendation: Implement a comprehensive energy conservation campaign in Central New York, along with long-term institutional investments in solar PV, geothermal, wind, hydropower and biomass resources. These actions will reduce the region's energy consumption by 40 percent and meet 25 percent of the region's electricity needs through renewable sources by 2030.
· Develop urban centers recommendation: Capitalize on proposed projects, such as for Syracuse Inner Harbor, Finger Lakes Music Festival in Auburn and the waterfront in Oswego. With these actions, the region can stimulate investment and population growth within established communities, leveraging existing infrastructure and preserving open space.
· Water quality and efficiency recommendation: Meet water quality and water efficiency objectives set by the region. With this action, the region can preserve this resource for the future and competitively differentiate itself from water-scarce parts of the U.S. as a sensible location for business development.