Climate Smart Task Force - Update Archive

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October 2020 Update
September 2020 Update
August 2020 Update
July 2020 Update
June 2020 Update
May 2020 Update
April 2020 Update
March 2020 Update
Feb 2020 Update
Jan 2020 Update

October 2020 Update

Task Force personnel are now in the process of reviewing our eventual application for certification, which occurs in a NYS online portal, and uploading required documentation for specific actions.
Recently, some additional actions have become feasible thanks to the interest of student interns at Vassar College, particularly in the area of mapping.

Progress is occurring on our town’s “fleet inventory” which is a critical data collection step that we need as a baseline for future planning of emission reductions. Town personnel are extremely supportive in partnering with the Task Force on this project. We hope in the near future to do an informational presentation on EV infrastructure for members of the Board, Planning Board, and department heads so that we can work together towards increasing infrastructure for both municipal and public benefit.

Climate Smart certification will benefit from progress on the Natural Resources Inventory and Open Space Plan, which is being managed through the Conservation Advisory Commission (CAC). CAC and Climate Smart work collaboratively on shared goals.

We continue to prepare for our Solar for All campaign. Recently, we received updated guidance from the state that will allow us to proceed with this action in a way that may make the town eligible for additional grants to support sustainability. We are holding this campaign until the new information is complete in order to take advantage of this opportunity.

On October 14th we will sponsor an updated presentation on Community Choice Aggregation and Community Solar for the Committee of the Whole at the Town Board.

Finally, we continue to plan for the Pollinator Pathway and have numerous participants committed to an initial steering committee from our local school districts, colleges, and other relevant organizations. Interested town residents should contact the Task Force chair.

September 2020 Update

At our September meeting we noted that the Town Board unanimously passed a resolution on 8/19/20 supporting the Solar for All Campaign. The required “scoping document” for NYSERDA has been completed, identifying how the campaign will be publicized to residents and what other groups will support that process. The document will now be submitted to NYSERDA for final approval before the campaign can be implemented.

We continue to gather information about the town’s vehicle fleet for eventual inclusion in our greenhouse gas emissions inventory. We’ll be refocusing on efforts to bring EV infrastructure to both town and private business properties through providing education on types of installations and financial incentives.

The Task Force now has an informative brochure. Look for a copy on your next visit to the Town Hall or other public settings.

August 2020 Update

At our August meeting the Task Force took steps forward on the Solar for All campaign for our town.  We’ll be submitting required information to NYSERDA, with the campaign itself happening a little later this year.  While a formal resolution is not required, nonetheless our liaison to the Town Board will be presenting one. 

A Request for Proposals, to engage a consultant for our Natural Resources Inventory and Open Space Plan, is going out. With the support of our Conservation Advisory Commission, we expect the project to come to fruition in 2021.  Watch for news of public comment sessions on this important initiative.

We have joined the Pollinator Pathway and are reaching out into the community for stakeholders interested in serving on a steering committee to develop a target pathway map and take next steps.  One important collaborator will the Environmental Cooperative at Vassar College, and we will also be working with students in the Environmental Studies program.  Please contact us if you have an interest in working with this committee.

The Task Force is learning more about CCA:  Community Choice Aggregation, prior to developing a consensus regarding whether or not we wish to recommend that the Town Board consider it.


July 2020 Update

We’re excited to announce our new Facebook page here. Please follow our page to stay abreast of our activities, events, and progress. Watch for our posts about other initiatives that we support such as Dutchess SUPPP (the Dutchess County Single-use Plastic Pollution Prevention Campaign).

At our July meeting the Task Force reviewed the recent public meeting for the Town’s Comprehensive Plan, which will contain sustainability elements required for certification. Participants were strongly in favor of climate smart actions such as increased renewables, local community solar, composting, and electric vehicle infrastructure.

Our Conservation Advisory Commission (CAC) is in process on a new Natural Resources Inventory (NRI) as part of the Comprehensive Plan. The NRI will lead to an Open Space Plan for the town. Currently the town is engaging a professional consultant, with grant support, to assist in the NRI process. Completion of the NRI will provide points towards Climate Smart certification.

We are excited to launch a Solar for All campaign in the coming months! This campaign is part of the overall NYS Solarize initiative and will assist low to moderate income town residents to participate in community solar, with grant funding to provide utility bill assistance under the program.

We’re also thrilled to be joining the Pollinator Pathway! Watch for more information about how individual town residents and businesses can participate.

June 2020 Update

The Task Force hosted a presentation about “Solar for All”, a community solar and utility bill assistance program provided by NYSERDA.  Solar power for this pilot project in Dutchess County would come from the Underhill Farm solar array in the town.  The committee supports participation, and the Chair and Board representative will discuss implementation with the Town Supervisor.  We made additional edits to our new Climate Smart Task Force brochure and look forward to copies being available for residents in town offices when they reopen. Fun fact:  the town has converted 82% of its street lights to climate-friendly LED’s! We’ll earn points toward certification thanks to this work.  Lights that are not yet converted will be changed as the old bulbs burn out. We continue to dialog with Central Hudson regarding public education about Electric Vehicles.  Normally the utility hosts an annual “EV summit.”  This year, due to the pandemic, plans have not yet been confirmed.  The Task Force, in partnership with the CAC (Conservation Advisory Commission), has expressed enthusiasm about the town participating in the regional “Pollinator Pathway” (learn more at https://www.pollinator-pathway.org/).  We can partner with our friends at the Vassar Environmental Cooperative on this beneficial campaign, which will be a fantastic opportunity to engage the public.  We are also exploring the possibility of a Green Business Challenge. Watch for more information on all of these efforts!

May 2020 Update

The Task Force continues to meet virtually and to progress towards Climate Smart Certification! Currently we are documenting the Town’s conversion of street lights to LEDs and preparing materials for an inventory of the Town’s fleet that will be used to help craft a Climate Action Plan.  We continue to plan for educational workshops on EV infrastructure for both businesses and residents.  Members are enthusiastic about hosting a pilot “Solar for All” campaign in Dutchess County, which would make community solar participation more readily available to lower-income households.  We’re also exploring the idea of creating a Green Business Challenge within the Town.  Contact us with your ideas!

April 2020 Update

Due to the health crisis, the Task Force met online and is working hard to maintain our momentum despite the pandemic.  We eagerly anticipate initiation of the Dutchess County Climate Action Planning Institute (CAPI).  This 16-month program involves several municipalities working together to inventory our government greenhouse gas emissions and develop a plan to reduce them.  The program will use the ICLEI ClearPath tool, already proven in use by many communities, to do inventory, analysis, and other processes.   We are also continuing to develop plans for community workshops on EV infrastructure and want to address both public and private spaces.  The Task Force will soon have social media.  One thing you’ll see on our imminent Facebook page is information about the new Dutchess SUPPP program:  the Single-Use Plastic Pollution Prevention Campaign.  We’re discussing ways that we can help implement this campaign even during the pandemic.  We’re also looking into the possibility of participating in a new Solarize campaign to support use of community solar.

March 2020 Update

Climate Smart baseline assessments were presented to the Town Board on 2-19, providing a roadmap for our journey to initial certification.  We expect to present to the Board again late in the year with more details on what is accomplished. Our Task Force chair participated in the annual Dutchess County Environmental Management Council Roundtable, at which representatives of all municipalities share ideas and progress on the environmental front.  We are so proud that our town is one of the leaders in the county in seeking Climate Smart certification.  We are now pivoting into the NYS submittal process.  Task Force members will be gathering needed documentation for certification. We’re getting ready for the start of the Dutchess County Climate Action Planning Institute (CAPI).  This 16-month program involves several municipalities, working together to inventory our government greenhouse gas emissions and develop a plan to reduce them.  We’re also preparing to offer community workshops on adding EV infrastructure to both public and private spaces. We want our town businesses to be able to take advantage of the significant financial incentives for setting up charging stations, which will attract both customers and prospective employees.

Fun fact:  did you know that the town has already converted the bulk of our street lights to LED bulbs?  This high-impact action will count towards Climate Smart certification.

Dutchess SUPPP – the Dutchess Single-Use Plastic Pollution Prevention Campaign – has been implemented. This grant-based initiative is intended for collaboration with municipalities and will provide us with educational resources for the community.  Did you know that Dutchess County has a Recycling Coordinator? And a “Recycle Right” campaign. There will be workshops for local businesses about using alternative products and compostables. 

Later this year, Climate Smart will have a beautiful logo!  Students in the DCC Service Program will be assisting us with design. This is a great way to engage our community.

February 2020 Update

Climate Smart baseline assessment is complete!  This will be presented to the Town Board on 2-19 and provides a roadmap for our journey to initial certification.  We’ve identified actions that the Town has completed, those that are in progress, and others that should take priority for implementation.  We’re excited that Poughkeepsie will be part of the Dutchess County Climate Action Planning Institute (CAPI), working with several other municipalities as we each inventory our government greenhouse gas emissions and create related climate action plans.  We’re planning our next steps to inform and engage town residents, so watch for new publicity outlets with information about our progress and events. In addition, the task force is in a robust discussion about EV (electric vehicle) infrastructure.  We hope to support the town in this area, to make it easier for residents to transition to renewables and for employers and businesses to provide this amenity. 

January 2020 Update

Members of the Task Force participated in a presentation on Community Choice Aggregation.  CCA is a policy, enabled by NYS legislation, that allows a municipality to source energy on behalf of its residents and businesses.  By forming a large buying pool with other municipalities, customers can save money, opt to use renewable energy, and receive consumer protections. Our speaker was from Hudson Valley Energy, which is participating in the Hudson Valley Community Power aggregation involving several municipalities (City of Poughkeepsie, Beacon, Cold Spring, Fishkill, Marbletown, Red Hook, New Paltz, and others). The pilot project in NYS was Westchester Power, which aggregated several communities in that county. A municipal board can pass a law enabling exploration of CCA without making a commitment until the final stages of the process.  Currently several municipalities in our region are exploring forming a new aggregation.  Customers can also enroll in community solar through the CCA, resulting in the creation of a Sustainability Fund which the municipality can earmark for a selected purpose.

The completed Climate Smart Planning Tool will be presented to the Town Board on 2/19/20.  The Climate Smart Certification Assessment is in the final stages of completion and will also be presented in the near future.  With completion of these two steps, the Task Force will be in a position to identify actions that are completed or in progress, prioritize next actions to implement, and begin documentation towards initial certification. We continue to benefit from our partnership with professional staff at Cornell Cooperative Extension.

The Task Force also received the good news that grants supporting the 2020-21 Climate Action Planning Institute (CAPI Dutchess) were approved. CAPI will take participants (several municipalities including Town of Poughkeepsie) through development of the Local Government Operations GHG Emissions Inventory and draft Government Climate Action Plans (CAPs), which are key actions for the Climate Smart program.  A similar project was deployed in Ulster County in 2018-19 and successfully walked eight communities through the process.