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Getting lit: Brooklyn’s flood-prone communities get investment from Albany

Vulnerable: Southern Brooklyn communities like Coney Island were one of the hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
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Southern Brooklyn is expecting a flood of cash!

New York State will soon spend big bucks to protect flood-prone communities in Brooklyn. The Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery launched a multi-million dollar effort on April 23 to prevent power failures during future extreme weather events in low-rise New York City neighborhoods.

“With severe weather events becoming more frequent, we have to be prepared and ensure our first responders and essential facilities are prepared for power outages,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul at a press conference for the announcement. “These upgrades are part of our continued efforts to rebuild and address the needs of storm-damaged communities.”

Phase one of the three-part effort – officially named the Solar Power and Battery Backup Power Program – which was spawned in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene, will begin later this year with a $980,400 investment in community facilities in Brooklyn and the Bronx.

Of those phase-one funds, $265,331 will be earmarked for upgrades to the Flatlands Volunteer Ambulance Corps in Southeast Brooklyn, and $159,801 will be allocated to Birch Family Services residential facility in Canarsie, which provides supervised residential care for individuals with disabilities, according to the Governor’s office.

The cash will go toward retrofitting critical buildings in vulnerable communities with solar panel systems and energy storage units, which would provide access to electricity in the event of flooding, according to a representative with Solar One, a clean energy company tasked with carrying out the project.

“When Superstorm Sandy devastated the traditional power supply of New York City, hundreds of solar installations in the city could not be utilized because they did not have the ability to store energy,” said Angelica Ramdhari. “We are excited to provide reliable backup power to underserved, low-lying communities through solar power coupled with energy storage systems.”

Phase-two of the project will focus on improving the energy systems in four Brooklyn Public Library facilities, and phase-three will retrofit several more community facilities across southern Brooklyn, according to the project’s head.

“The Solar Power and Battery Backup Power Program embodies the overwhelming desire of NY Rising Community Reconstruction Planning Committees to apply lessons learned from recent storms and, in the process, to cultivate more sustainable communities that will benefit generations of New Yorkers to come,” said Emily Thompson.

Reach reporter Aidan Graham at agraham@schnepsmedia.com or by calling (718) 260–4577. Follow her at twitter.com/aidangraham95.
Updated 2:10 pm, April 23, 2019
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