Village plans to develop clean energy practices

The Village of Geneseo is working to improve its energy efficiency in order to join the Clean Energy Communities program. The village may start to promote the usage of solar panels in the community in order to join this program and to receive money for future clean energy practices. (Jake Wade/Staff Photographer)

As part of a recent state-run initiative, the Village of Geneseo is developing energy efficient initiatives in hopes of joining the Clean Energy Communities program—run by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority—in efforts to be more environmentally conscious. 

NYSERDA has currently invested $60 million to reduce the energy used in certain areas. The initiative has created 10 High Impact Action items, which include steps to guide communities through energy reduction. When a community fulfills four of these items, they become eligible for grants—as funded by the NYSERDA—to pursue further items on the list. 

The village is in the process of implementing four of the 10 listed items in order to receive funding in the future, according to Mayor Richard B. Hatheway.

One of the items the village is looking to implement is called benchmarking, Hatheway said. Through this policy, the village plans to measure the annual energy usage of certain village owned buildings in the hopes of reducing their energy usage levels. 

Buildings that are eligible to be measured must be greater than 1000 square-feet, and they include the water plant, the sewer plant, the Department of Public Works building and the Geneseo Village Clerk’s Office. 

The village is also looking at adding more clean energy cars—such as electric, propane or hydrogen cars—to the community, according to Hatheway. In addition, the village may install charging stations for these electric vehicles and change streetlights to LED lights to fulfill four High Impact Action items. 

“There’s a program that will allow us to pay for the LED lights over several years and it looks as though at least an initial estimate on that—on the energy saved—would be about six years,” Hatheway said. 

Another High Impact Action item the village may undertake is the creation of solar farms, Hatheway said. These farms would consist of 10-20 acres of land set aside for solar panels, which would produce electricity to be sold back to the community. The village is also considering encouraging people to install solar panels on their houses, according to Hatheway.

“We would need someone to really get a campaign going on that,” Hatheway said. “The physics department on campus is pretty active with that stuff right now. We have not approached them about it, but that could be something we could get drummed up in the community.” 

Plans to implement the program in the future include expanding it outward toward the other villages and counties in Western New York, according to Village Board Trustee Matthew Cook. 

“I hope that it will first end up being countywide after we are able to implement it—that other villages and towns across the county are able to do this,” Cook said.

Along with pushing the program to areas surrounding Geneseo, Cook also believes participating in this initiative will promote collegiate involvement.

“I think that with the amount of activism that we have going on here on campus, a lot of clubs and student organizations will be pushing to have those be implemented,” Cook said.  

Staff writer Tyler Waldriff contributed reporting to this article.