Cayuga County has become just the fourth county in the state to take its place among Clean Energy Communities. And, it joins only two other municipalities in Central New York to earn the designation from NYSERDA…DeWitt and Minoa. The authority says Cayuga County has found ways to reduce energy consumption and drive clean energy production. Legislator Tim Lattimore says it's something they've been working toward for years. They just had an engineering firm study parts of downtown Auburn…
"Like our county office building, our courthouses, we have a historical post office. They consume a lot of energy, so we'll try to put in systems that are going to help reduce that consumption."
Lattimore says the county has a strong focus on solar power. In fact, NYSERDA’s designation was partly based on their effort to develop a community-based solarize campaign. Lattimore says they’re installing solar arrays on vacant county land.
"We connect those together, get a community rate, then we can sell back to NYSEG, which is our supplier here. Through that, we can create the green energy system that we want, and hopefully have a reliable source of energy."
Lattimore says it’s toward the larger goal of a county microgrid, much like Solvay’s. He says they’re trying a much smaller version in Union Springs.
"We're burying the power lines and putting in solar, and using them as a microgrid. It's a small community, but we can replicate that all over."
Lattimore says independent microgrids become more important as malware and other bugs threaten to interrupt traditional power generation and delivery systems.