Rochester, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo revealed that New York State will award nearly $1 million each to The University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Suffolk County Community College as part of the Energy to Lead Competition. The competition challenges New York colleges and universities across the state to develop plans for local clean energy projects on campus and in their communities as New York seeks innovative solutions to combat climate change.
“Through the “Energy to Lead”competition, New York is fostering clean energy innovation to help fight climate change and protect our environment,” governor Cuomo said. “I commend the students and faculty for their steadfast commitment to improving their campus and community, helping to create a cleaner, greener New York for all.”
Applicants were required to submit projects which demonstrate innovation in one or more of the following areas: project design, business model, partnerships, and/or curriculum integration. Schools and universities were also required to describe the project’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions, how they would measure success and how they would use the funding to advance the project. These projects are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2,125 metric tons over the next five years.
The Energy to Lead Competition is part of the REV Campus Challenge which recognizes and supports colleges and universities in New York State that strive to meet their financial, environmental, academic and community goals through clean energy solutions.
In May 2016, Bard College, SUNY University at Buffalo, and SUNY Broome Community College were each awarded $1 million through the competition. These projects are expected to be completed in fall 2020.
The competition is administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and open to two- or four-year public or private colleges or universities. The competition challenges schools to develop ideas for innovative projects in energy efficiency, renewable energy or greenhouse gas emission reduction on campus, in the classroom and in surrounding communities. The announcement was made at RIT's Golisano Institute of Sustainability.
Richard Kauffman, chair of energy and finance for New York State, said, “I’m thrilled to see the next generation of clean energy leaders at our state colleges and universities demonstrating a real commitment to finding solutions to our energy challenges. Under governor Cuomo, New York has made it a priority to scale up New York’s clean energy economy and these projects will help drive progress to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make our communities more sustainable as we protect our environment from the impacts of climate change.”
Alicia Barton, president and CEO of NYSERDA, said, “Congratulations to the winners of the Energy to Lead Competition for developing ambitious and innovative clean energy projects to help solve energy challenges on their campuses and surrounding communities. Under governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York continues marching toward a cleaner energy system built on cutting-edge ideas discovered as part of collaborations with higher-education and our competitions that are inspiring the next generation of energy leaders.”
SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson said, "SUNY, as an engine of innovation embedded in every region of the state, has the capacity to pioneer solutions to combat the environmental issues plaguing our communities, our state, and our planet. Suffolk County Community College's dedication to using net-zero energy elements in the construction of its new STEM Center is a sound example of environmental leadership. This work will help to make our state and the world more sustainable. Thank you to governor Cuomo for helping to bring this project to life, and congratulations to Suffolk County Community College and past winners, University at Buffalo and Broome Community College for receiving these awards."
The University of Rochester will install a modular, combination solar PV and energy storage system that will feed into an existing university microgrid, offsetting the energy requirements of an upcoming high-efficiency academic building. The installation will offer research on solar energy production and energy storage in support of maintaining grid reliability as well as a substantial education and outreach plan. The project is expected to result in the avoidance of 91 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
University of Rochester president Richard Feldman said, "The University of Rochester is honored to be selected by NYSERDA to receive this grant as part of the REV Campus Challenge. We are excited about the powerful potential of our project and thank governor Cuomo for his support. This funding will help establish a net-zero building on the University's campus that integrates solar production with energy storage in a completely scalable fashion. The solar-energy storage array will also support research and educational opportunities for our students and faculty. In addition, partnering with ENEROC—a member of the city of Rochester's Market Driven Corp.—for the installation will provide a local Rochester workforce and support our community's ongoing efforts to reduce poverty."
RIT will create a platform that integrates multiple data sources to enable the existing building automation system to manage operation schedules, adjust ventilation rates in classrooms, and respond to peak demand days. The platform, once tested and deployed at RIT, will be tested at Monroe Community College's downtown campus and then made publicly available free of charge for other institutions to leverage. The project is expected to result in the avoidance of 108 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
RIT president David Munson said, "This project leverages many of RIT's strengths, including our innovative spirit, the cutting-edge nature of our academic programs, and the way our campus serves as a laboratory for experiential learning. We applaud governor Cuomo for investing in research that addresses solutions to global challenges and for recognizing the important role of higher education in working toward these solutions."
Suffolk County Community College will implement net-zero energy components during construction of its Renewable Energy & Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Center, including ground source heat pumps and solar. The project design will focus on reducing building thermal loads and serves as a replicable approach to energy conservation, efficiency and renewable energy. It will showcase clean energy technologies to the broader community and will integrate curricula to develop a qualified workforce required to support the growing clean energy industry. The project is expected to result in the avoidance of 227 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
Suffolk County Community College president Dr. Shaun McKay said, "Suffolk County Community College is committed to advancing and demonstrating clean energy and innovative initiatives on campus, in the classroom, and in our communities. Through support and sponsorship that will be incorporated into the College's proposed Renewable Energy and STEM Center, the Energy to Lead grant award will serve as a funding resource for nearly $1 million worth of state-of-the-art technologies and equipment that will be employed to reduce the new building's Energy Use Intensity consumption and to teach best practices of sustainable energy applications as a learning laboratory—serving as an energy conservation and learning resource center. Upon completion of its construction, this structure will represent the first building of its kind in the SUNY system, and on Long Island. We sincerely appreciate, acknowledge, and thank governor Cuomo as well as NYSERDA for this important award that will lead to multiple transformational educational opportunities for our Long Island students."
This round of Energy to Lead included 24 project submissions from 21 different public and private colleges and universities across the state. Applications were reviewed by an evaluation panel and winners were chosen based on project cost effectiveness, innovativeness, energy efficiency and clean energy measures, the impact on greenhouse gas emissions, and how funding would be used to advance the project on campus and in the community.