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NEWS

Town of Hurley Climate Smart Task Force Updates

NYSERDA grant challenge is underway in Hurley. To recap the basics: When town residents choose heat pumps, Community Solar or an EV, the Town gets credit towards $20,000+ in grant money. This Series of presentations will provide residents with helpful information about the clean energy choices eligible for grant money.


Tom Konrad is our first presenter on February 27, 2024. Energy Coach and Chair of Marbletown's ECC, Tom has answers to a lot of questions about these technologies and how to integrate them into our lives. He will focus on the benefits of Heat Pump installations.



The series will continue at the March 26th Town Board meeting when we'll talk about signing up for Community Solar. This costs nothing to sign up, saves money on electric bills and supports solar energy.


The thrid and final presentation is scheduled forApril 23rd's meeting. We'll take a closer look at EV ownership, sum up the clean energy program, and the financial incentives.


Simply email climatesmart@ townofhurley.org if you install heat pumps or sign up for Community Solar. See grant details at tinyurl.com/grants-opp. ** UPDATE ** 4-EV's were registered in Hurley since Nov 29th. Just 1 more purchase makes us eligible for a $5,000 grant!  


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UCCRA Compost Hills
Hills of Compost at UCCRA Ready for Sale. Photo, by Peter McKnight, 2023
Learn More: Feb 13 2024 Town Board Meeting. Click here for details.

Ulster County is grappling with a major solid waste problem. All Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) and recycling collected in the county is transferred to the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency (UCCRA) for disposal. This waste is then transported OVER 250 MILES away to a landfill in Seneca Meadows, NY in trucks that burn diesel fuel with low gas mileage further polluting our air. This system is not only wasteful and expensive but it also poses a severe threat to the environment. It's easy to see how this process is unsustainable. The landfill in Seneca Meadows is causing enormous local damage and efforts are ongoing to close it. According to town officials, we currently pay UCRRA $120/ton to service non-recycled waste.


There's some good news though! It is estimated that about 33,000 tons/year - 22% - of Ulster County waste is compostable. (See https://ucrra.org/waste-recycling/food-waste/) Diverting food waste to composting reduces MSW, creates significant benefits, can save money, and lowers environmental damage.


To accomplish that, Community Composting Programs are being developed in many areas. Also known as the Zero Waste Initiative, the Town of Hurley put out an RFP last year to employ a team to investigate the potential benefits to the town by implementing such a program in Hurley. It's realistic to acknowledge that there will be costs associated with such a transition. Implementing a successful composting program will require investment in our transfer station, and educating town residents on the how and why. There will be costs to set up the new system and implement it, which grants may cover.


To fully maximize the benefits of a Composting Program in Hurley, all residents would be asked to separate and drop off their food waste at pre-determined sites within the town, or do their own backyard composting. Once the program is in place, the benefits of composting should far outweigh the costs of hauling away organic material.


Hurley's RFP was answered by Greenway Environmental Services and a contract is being considered. At Tuesday, February 13th's Town Board meeting, Greenway will present an overview of their services and the contract provisions. Phase One of the agreement would require Greenway to:

  1. Establish a baseline history of materials. revenue, expense in and out of the transfer station;

  2. Design food waste collection, storage, and transfer protocols that includes Greenway's proprietary products, Odor Control Blend and Rapid Decomposition Medium;

  3. Start the collection of organics with a pilot program at the Transfer Station; and

  4. Write a grant application to assist with the development of an expanded collection and composting program throughout the town.

Especially since the Hurley Transfer Station estimates that over half of the waste we send to the landfill is organic material, Greenway's Zero Waste system will focus initially on Food Waste. Once organics are separated at the Transfer Station, their system allows for the reclamation and reuse of over 90% of the material.  The collection of organics can include the compostable plastics often used for storing organic waste, making it very efficient. This is the same system used by the vendors at the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival where 90% of the material was collected was diverted from the landfill. 


Learn more about the entire contract when Greenway presents it to the Town Board at their workshop meeting on Tuesday, February 13, 2024. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the West Hurley Firehouse, 24 Wall St.

One way or another, the town needs to address the problem of solid waste and figure out how to make a successful transition to a meaningful reduction. In the process we may save money, and will certainly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Continuing to avoid the problem is certainly not going to fix it. The Climate Smart Task Force looks forward to continuing the conversation. and supports the initiative to develop and implement a town-wide Community Composting Program.

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changing a filer

With town resident and business participation, we can now earn financial rewards for specific clean energy actions through three different campaigns:

  • Electric vehicle purchases,

  • installing clean heating/cooling systems (i.e. heat pumps), and

  • Community Solar sign-ups.


With your help, the Town can earn up to $20,000 from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to use toward clean energy, money-saving upgrades in Town facilities. Grant money can be used for practical things in town, such as upgrading the pedestrian experience in Old Hurley's hub, or weatherizing town buildings to save money on heating and cooling.


Why now? 2023 is officially on record as being the hottest year in human history. Taking these actions helps us lower fossil fuel emissions which contribute greatly to warming temperatures.


Here’s how we 'earn' the grant money:

● When we report that five electric vehicles have been purchased by town residents or entities, the Town can receive a $5,000 grant. (Purchases made after Nov. 29, 2023 qualify.)

➢ For information from NYSERDA about electric vehicles, go to tinyurl.com/bp954dnp.

➢ For information about NYSERDA’s Drive Clean Rebate Program, go to tinyurl.com/2xrpat2k.


● If we report five installations of heat pumps or heat pump water heaters in the Town, we can receive a $5,000 grant. (Installations completed after Nov. 29, 2023 qualify.)

➢ For information about heat pump options, rebates and tax credits, go to cleanheat.ny.gov.


● Once we report that 50 residents or businesses in Hurley signed up for community solar, the program that saves customers up to 10% on their electric bills, the Town can receive a $10,000 grant. All subscriptions begun after June 1, 2023, are eligible.

➢ Regarding Community Solar: Electric customers can save up to 10% on their bills without having to install solar panels. Panels are installed elsewhere, and subscribers get a benefit. There’s no cost to subscribe, and the process takes only 5 to 10 minutes.

To find a provider, go to Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp.’s Clean Energy Market site at tinyurl.com/2nyajrm3. To get credit for grant money, let us know which company you chose, and when you started.


Is one of these clean energy solutions right for you? If you have questions, or want to discuss a choice, let us know. If you complete one of these actions TELL US with an email to climatesmart@townofhurley.org so we can keep track of our goal and claim our reward.

Together we make a difference!




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