Celebrating Ten Years

& The Power of Partnership


For the past decade, we’ve been shaping New York’s transition to a green economy that cares for people and the planet.


In 2012, the fracking and nuclear industries were pushing to expand in New York. This would have locked our state into a dirty, expensive, and unjust energy system for decades to come.

In response, a small group of activists in Central New York founded Alliance for a Green Economy — AGREE — with a bold vision for a renewable energy transition built on social and environmental justice. Over the years, AGREE has grown from a small volunteer team gathered around a table in Syracuse to a statewide powerhouse with staff that are beloved by their peers and respected in the halls of government. 


We count our successes by the millions

Three Signature Wins


In 2022, we worked hand-in-hand with organized labor and the Building Decarbonization Coalition to secure passage of the Utility Thermal Energy Network and Jobs Act. The law enables the construction of neighborhood-scale “thermal energy networks” to help bring affordable, renewable heating and cooling to utility customers.

Labor standards in the bill will preserve and add good union jobs to decarbonize buildings at a scale that aligns with New York’s climate law and provides a transition pathway for gas pipeline workers to build shared geothermal energy projects. As a result of this law, the state’s seven largest gas utilities are now piloting thermal energy network projects in all regions of the state.

“We are thrilled to come together with the labor movement around a vision for the next generation of heating and cooling infrastructure in New York. Thermal energy networks will revolutionize the way we heat and cool our communities. With the Utility Thermal Energy Network and Jobs Act, we are urging a collective solution to the climate crisis that will make renewable heating more accessible and affordable and create good union jobs.” – Jessica Azulay, Executive Director of Alliance for a Green Economy

This win was built on five years of struggle within utility rate cases to push utilities and state energy regulators to avoid investments in gas infrastructure and to invest in energy efficiency and heat pumps to reduce demand for gas. By finding common ground with some of the state’s most powerful labor unions and listening closely for the needs of environmental justice communities, we were able to put together a winning coalition that passed the bill nearly unanimously through the legislature.



Through our Solarize and Heat Smart campaigns, we’ve worked with local partners to help over 500 households install solar, heat pumps, and energy efficiency measures, preventing over 20 million pounds of carbon emissions.

Based on this experience, we’ve built powerful advocacy campaigns that were instrumental in securing over $454 million in rebates for renewable heating, and worked with partners to secure the governor’s commitment to 2,000,000 climate-friendly homes by 2030.

If we do the energy transition right, it improves every home. Starting in 2018, AGREE collaborated with the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board and NYSERDA to launch HeatSmart CNY to educate residents and building owners on making energy-saving improvements to their homes and switching from burning fossil fuels for heat to using heat pumps.

“For many, participating in HeatSmart CNY was life-changing, giving them healthier and more comfortable homes and affordable energy bills. For some of our older participants, switching to heat pumps allowed them to stay in their home when they could no longer regularly manage the physical labor of heating with wood to avoid the cost of oil or propane,” said Lindsay Speer, Director of Community Programs at AGREE

The HeatSmart CNY campaign has helped over 220 households improve their homes with heat pumps and/or better insulation, resulting in cumulative emission reductions of 16.3 million lbs CO2e. More than half of these projects helped low-to-moderate income households, often providing weatherization and heat pumps at no cost by layering grants, utility rebates, and NYSERDA funding. HeatSmart CNY has achieved the highest emissions reductions of any campaign of its kind in the state.



We worked with a large and diverse coalition to open access to solar energy in New York. Community solar allows people to participate in shared solar arrays, whether or not they rent or have enough space for solar panels of their own.

Having helped hundreds in our region install solar on their roofs through our Solarize campaigns, we saw that renters and homeowners with shady roofs were getting left out. Our work with the Energy Democracy Alliance and Vote Solar resulted in the launch of community solar in New York. Community solar enables people to participate in large shared solar arrays in their area and receive discounts on their electricity bills for the energy generated — no roof needed. Since the establishment of this program, 5,999 megawatts of community solar have been built or planned in NY. That’s enough to power one million homes.

“We’ve had to constantly defend this victory and push to make sure the benefits of community solar are getting to customers that need the bill savings the most,” said Avni Pravin, AGREE’s deputy director. “In 2018, we successfully fought for better value from solar credits when they were under attack by the utilities. Last year, we supported a program that would allow National Grid to automatically enroll its 175,000 low-income customers in local community solar projects, resulting in additional energy bill discounts for those customers.”


We advocate for ratepayers by standing up to the fossil fuel, nuclear energy, and utility industries.

Our rate case organizing has kept utility bill hikes in check, helped local communities cancel four gas pipelines and millions of dekatherms of gas sales, and advanced non-gas alternatives for heating

Our nuclear watchdog work won $15 million for the Nine Mile Point Unit 2 decommissioning fund and clawed back $20 million for Rochester-area consumers from the Ginna nuclear power plant

Our advocacy with grassroots environmental and consumer groups pushed the Public Service Commission to establish New York’s Energy Affordability Program in 2016 and recently secured over $672 million in utility bill relief for New York’s lowest-income households

Key Takeaways

We’ve learned a lot along the way, and these lessons will continue to inform our work in the next decade:


You don’t win things you don’t ask for.

This is true whether you’re looking for house-to-house buy-in, negotiating in a rate case, or seeking statewide change. We’ve learned to prepare well and be bold with our demands.

You can’t just say what you’re against. You have to be able to articulate your vision.

We know people need to heat their homes and get around and turn on the lights. When we talk about ending the unsustainable ways we meet these needs now, we always talk about how we are going to meet those needs with sustainable energy going forward.

People are looking for ways to work together, and working together is the only way to win.

None of our big wins would have happened without collaborators, participants, supporters and donors.

What’s Next


AGREE is thrilled to work with local partners to launch a new Regional Clean Energy Hub here in Central New York. At this one-stop shop for all things clean energy, we will help neighbors, businesses and communities take advantage of the opportunities the transition to clean energy presents, from clean-tech careers to money-saving home energy improvements to rebates for businesses. The Clean Energy Hub will be an amazing platform for building on our years of experience and scaling up our local solutions work. Our Central New York Clean Energy Hub will be one of 12 hubs funded by NYSERDA as the result of a process we co-led with the Energy Democracy Alliance and NYSERDA. 



Our new Green Economy Library will launch in April 2023! This open-access resource provides a curated list of info-graphics, research papers, and interactive presentations about the just solutions we need to face the climate crisis, and the false solutions peddled by the fossil fuel and nuclear industries. The library guides users through complex topics with clear, accessible language, and focuses on how to build a just, affordable, renewable future.


Partnership-Powered Progress

By co-founding multiple state-wide coalitions, continuously holding workshops across New York, and organizing everywhere we go, we’ve built relationships of solidarity with over 200 organizations and have activated over 10,000 individuals across New York.

AGREE is a proud co-founder and active member of New York Energy Democracy Alliance, the Renewable Heat Now Campaign, the Better Buildings NY Campaign, and the Upgrade NY Collaboration. We also participate actively in the NY Renews Coalition and the NY Public Power Campaign, and have joined many fights across New York wherever people are working to challenge the power of corporate energy companies and shift our energy system to meet our needs while protecting health and the environment. 



Here are some of our closest partners:

  • Acadia Center
  • Affordable Housing Partnership Homeownership Center
  • All Our Energy
  • Association for Energy Affordability
  • Catskill Mountainkeeper
  • Center for Social Inclusion
  • Citizen Action of New York
  • Citizens for Local Power
  • Citizens’ Environmental Coalition
  • Clean Air Coalition of Western New York
  • Climate Reality Project New York State Chapters Coalition
  • Climate Solutions Accelerator of the Genesee-Finger Lakes Region
  • Coop Power
  • Earthjustice
  • Food and Water Action
  • For The Many
  • Fossil Free Tompkins
  • Frack Action
  • Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES)
  • HeatSmart Tompkins
  • Hudson River Sloop Clearwater
  • Kinetic Communities Consulting
  • Long Island Progressive Coalition
  • Metro Justice


  • Mothers Out Front
  • Mothers Out Front New York
  • Network for a Sustainable Tomorrow
  • New York Sustainable Business Council
  • New Yorkers for Clean Power
  • Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition
  • NY Building Decarbonization Coalition
  • NY Renews
  • NYC 2030 District
  • NYC-DSA Ecosocialist Working Group
  • NY-GEO
  • Pace Energy and Climate Center
  • People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH) Buffalo
  • Rewiring America
  • RMI
  • Roosevelt Institute
  • Sane Energy Project
  • Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter
  • Solstice
  • Southern Door Community Land Trust
  • Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development
  • Syracuse United Neighbors (SUN)
  • WE ACT for Environmental Justice

Join Us

If you’ve benefited from something AGREE has done, or if you support us in blocking dirty energy expansion and paving the way for a just transition to clean renewables, we invite you to join us! Please consider signing up to become a member of AGREE.

Together, we can implement inclusive solutions that keep New York on the path to a more sustainable, more equitable, and more prosperous future.


What are people saying?

When I work with anyone from AGREE, I feel bigger than I am. I feel seen. That is the recipe for building an empowered and wise movement that most metric-focused organizations miss. Each of them ensure that every individual in our movement knows their superhero power, and that gift is communicated with total horizontal humility. I feel I can face the enormity of the monstrous powers we are fighting with courage because AGREE is on our team. We have tried and failed at times, and we have taken creative chances that won incredible battles. I feel that many times I will cry and hide under the covers when we lose, and AGREE is always there creating a safe space where we can cheer each other up, and dust ourselves off to try again. The work we are doing is so hard and so valuable, and I could not imagine doing this without my sisters at AGREE.
Kim Fraczek
Sane Energy Project
AGREE is a truly special group. They’re an exceedingly rare combination of policy experts and organizers who reliably hold the line and fight for what is necessary rather than what power brokers deem politically possible. Truly some of the best and most effective people I have the pleasure to work with.
Alex Beauchamp
Food and Water Watch
I cannot understate the pivotal role that AGREE New York plays in advancing our transition away from fossil fuels in the State. With so much technical expertise, policy strategy, and genuine deep care for communities across the State, AGREE is able to move the needle on climate and energy policy like no other. And, making sure we are centering environmental justice in the energy space is difficult to do and AGREE does it with passion and accountability. We love AGREE!!
Sonal Jessel
WE-ACT For Environmental Justice
Alliance for a Green Economy is a fantastic grassroots campaign led by some of the smartest, most skillful organizers I have ever worked with. If you are looking for a portal into renewable energy activism that closes the door on both natural gas and nukes, look no further.
Dr. Sandra Steingraber
Biologist, author, activist, senior scientist at Science & Environmental Health Network
AGREE is this incredible group of activists that works on energy and jobs THAT NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT! They’re behind some of the biggest wins in the clean energy transition so far: community solar in NY, phasing out natural gas infrastructure in favor of renewables, working with organized labor to support district scale geothermal networks, getting hundreds of millions of dollars to help families struggling with utility debt left over from the pandemic, AND bringing together groups to engage people in the ground to realize tangible benefits, like bill savings, from state energy programs – not just households with disposable incomes. If there’s a group doing the critical work to make the clean energy transition real for real people – not just big talk, it’s AGREE.
Eric Walker
Independent consultant and strategist
I always look forward to working with AGREE. The AGREE team are tireless advocates who provide a powerful combination of policy expertise, strategic judgment, and grassroots mobilization. They are playing a critical role in helping to craft and implement the state’s decarbonization pathways.
Joshua Berman
Senior Attorney, Sierra Club Environmental Law Program
AGREE holds some of the most talented people who move mountains. Between fighting for renewable energy to fighting against rate hikes, Where would the world be without the wonderful folks at AGREE? They have a personable approach to very complex work that is inclusive and revolutionary. I’ve personally always felt heard and understood
Amber Johnson
Organizing Director of Energy Democracy Alliance