CLEAN ENERGY Communities

The CSC Pathway Coordinating With CEC Getting Started With CEC

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Save energy, cut costs & get funding for your municipality.

Does your municipality want to become a Climate Smart Community (CEC) through NYSDEC? To increase grant eligibility and earn the points needed for certification, municipalities must also enroll in the Clean Energy Communities (CEC) program, administered by NYSERDA. Here’s a brief guided trip through the steps a municipality must complete to become designated as a CEC.

Your pathway to becoming designated as a Clean Energy Community

1. Sign up for the program.

Connect with a Clean Energy Community Coordinator to get started. To access support, email:

2. Explore the possible high impact actions.

There are 13 actions municipalities can take to save energy, cut costs and earn a designation under the Clean Energy Community program. Points are awarded for every high impact action completed, and municipalities become eligible for larger grant amounts once a certain number of points are earned.

3. Complete actions and provide documentation.

To become designated as a Clean Energy Community, a municipality must complete at least four high impact actions.

4. Apply for grants.

Once your municipality reaches the required number of points, you will be contacted by email with instructions on how to apply for a grant through NYSERDA’s online application portal. Applications are currently being accepted on a rolling basis. (Note: Local governments can apply for points-based grants without yet being certified as a CEC, although additional funds are available for certified communities.)


After receiving an email from NYSERDA detailing an eligible grant amount, a municipality has three months to apply for that grant. Projects must be ready to commence within six months of an award notification, and should be completed within 3 years of contract execution.

Types of Grants Available

Designation Grants

This additional funding is available to municipalities that have completed the required number of high impact actions and are now designated Clean Energy Communities.

Points-Based Grants

Grants of $10K to $150K are available to municipalities as they complete high impact actions. The size of the award is based on the number of points earned and the size of the municipality, with a pool of funding that is allotted by region.

Action Grants

These grants are available to help fund Community Campaigns. Municipalities may receive only one grant per campaign type, with amounts varying based on the community’s population and number of participants.

Bonus Grants

Grant projects taking place in a Disadvantaged Community that receive a points-based or action grant award of $20K or more are also eligible for a $10K bonus grant.

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