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John Rhodes, president and CEO of NYSERDA, right, speaks with Jason Chang, sophmore at Bard College during Monday's award announcement. Photo by Karl Rabe for Bard College.

Bard awarded $1M for student-led smart energy project


Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Monday that New York State will award $1 million each to Bard College, University at Buffalo and SUNY Broome Community College as part of the “Energy to Lead Competition.” The competition, first announced by the governor in October 2015, challenged student-led coalitions from New York colleges and universities to design and develop innovative plans for campus and community-wide clean energy projects. The announcement was made at Bard College.

“The ‘Energy to Lead Competition’ is challenging New York’s emerging energy leaders to turn innovative ideas into cutting-edge solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lower energy bills and improve resiliency in communities across the state,” Governor Cuomo said. “I congratulate our winning students and faculty, and commend them for their commitment to helping to build a cleaner, greener New York.”

Collectively, the three winning college projects will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of taking 17,000 cars off the road each year.

Bard College’s “Microhydro for Macro Impact” project will show how novel microhydro power generators can dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, can be financed in different ways and are integrated into student curricula and workforce training. The project is expected to result in the avoidance of 335 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually, and will also include the launch of an online public information resource “NY Microhydro” to help others install microhydro throughout the state.

“Innovation is at the core of Bard’s mission," said Bard College President Leon Botstein. "This award helps us to continue to innovate in environmental issues and energy conservation, and to signal the importance of these issues to the entire higher-education community.”

The University at Buffalo’s “Localizing Buffalo’s Renewable Energy Future” project will demonstrate how a college or university can partner with its community to transform the local energy ecosystem, all while providing students with valuable research and workforce training opportunities. In partnership with the city of Buffalo and several not-for-profit and educational partners, the project’s goal is to install 100 megawatts of solar power throughout the city and college and university campuses and is expected to result in the avoidance of 82,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

SUNY Broome Community College’s “Geothermal Learning Laboratory” project will show how a geothermal system can harness the energy stored in the earth to heat and cool a campus, serve as a hands-on learning resource for college and secondary school students, and generate energy bill savings that can be reinvested in energy conservation measures. The project is expected to result in the avoidance of 135 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

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