The East Hampton Town Board voted unanimously last Thursday to engage the advocacy group Renewable Energy Long Island to further the Energize East Hampton initiative, a multifaceted program to transition from fossil fuel to energy derived from renewable sources. The contract is to be in effect as of Wednesday.
Under the Energize East Hampton umbrella are South Fork Peak Savers, through which residents are eligible for rebates and incentives for smart thermostats, swimming pool pumps, and Energy Star-rated appliances and lighting; Solarize East Hampton, which provides incentives for solar panel installation, and East Hampton Green Homes, which offers residential property owners an energy-efficiency makeover. Information is at energizeeh.org.
Renewable Energy Long Island, or reLI, was chosen following the issuance of a request for proposals. As the contractor selected, reLI is to conduct or assist in building awareness of the Energize East Hampton programs and encourage community participation through marketing and outreach, including the initiative's website and social media, print and e-newsletter distribution, and in-person events such as speaking engagements.
ReLI will assist town staff in developing additional programs for the Energize East Hampton initiative, and assist the town in research, development, and implementation of projects and policies to move the town toward the goal of achieving 100 percent of its energy needs through renewable sources by 2030. Solar and/or battery storage installations on town properties, changes to town code for renewable energy technologies and energy-efficient construction, and development of renewable heating and clean transportation strategies are also in the scope of services to be provided.
ReLI is to guide the development of a community choice aggregation program, for which the town held a public hearing this month in anticipation of adopting enabling legislation. Called C.C.A., such a program can further a transition from fossil fuel-derived electricity to that derived from renewable sources: A municipality enters into contracts with energy service companies for power supply purchase options within its jurisdiction. The municipality selects the default power supply, and individual customers are given the choice either to purchase that supply or another available option. Options include power produced through 100-percent renewable sources, power produced through nonrenewable sources, or a blend.
Gordian Raacke, reLI's executive director, has more than 20 years' experience in renewable energy advocacy, and helped lead information sessions on C.C.A. last year. He told The Star that reLI "looks forward to continuing our work with town staff to raise public awareness of programs available through the Energize East Hampton initiative and assist in developing and implementing policies and initiatives to advance the town's clean energy goals."