SCHENECTADY — A meeting on developing community-wide renewable energy purchase plans will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Schenectady County Public Library, 99 Clinton St.
The meeting will be devoted to Community Choice Aggregation, a way for municipalities to make large-scale renewable energy purchases on behalf of their residents. It was originally scheduled for Jan. 29, but postponed due to weather.
"Simply put, there is no more impactful policy that our local governments can adopt to combat climate change than this," said Jeff Corbin, a Union College professor of biology and environmental sciences who is one of the organizers.
Under Community Choice Aggregation, municipalities create a system to purchase electricity from renewable sources on behalf of their residents and small businesses. Residents usually save money, and purchasing renewable energy reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
At the meeting, presentations will be made by the Capital District Regional Planning Commission, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and the Capital Region Community Choice Aggregation Steering Committee. Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy is scheduled to open the 90-minute forum.
Locally, the Niskayuna Town Board has passed a resolution expressing interest in the concept, and the Albany Common Council has discussed it.
"We would love for the communities in Schenectady County, especially the city of Schenectady, to start investigating community choice aggregation. It would lock in rates and provide customers with a great percentage of electricity from renewable," said Tina Lieberman of the Sierra Club, one of the organizers and also a member of the Albany Sustainability Advisory Committee.
A community choice aggregation system began operating in parts of Westchester County in 2016, and CCAs are close to getting started in the Poughkeepsie, Ithaca and Geneva areas, organizers said.
The concept is approved by and being promoted by the state Public Service Commission and NYSERDA, as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's efforts to eliminate the use of fossil fuels to generate the state's electricity by 2045. The state now gets about 30 percent of its power from fossil fuels.
Sponsors of Tuesday's event include the Schenectady County Environmental Advisory Council, Sierra Club Hudson-Mohawk Group, Solarize Albany, Pause/350.org, Save the Pine Bush and several Schenectady area churches.
"It will make a huge difference in how we as a community respond to the climate crisis," Lieberman said.