Energy to Lead Competition

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the Energy to Lead competition in October 2015 to challenge colleges and universities to develop innovative plans for clean energy projects. The REV Campus Challenge issued the Energy to Lead competition to challenge institutions and student-led coalitions across New York State to develop and implement plans that advance clean energy on their campuses and local communities in new ways.

Awards

NYSERDA announced the three award-winning colleges and universities in May 2016. These three teams proposed the best solutions for innovative clean energy projects in energy efficiency, renewables, and/or greenhouse gas emission reduction or mitigation and will each win $1 million to help implement their plans.

Bard College

Bard College’s “Micro Hydro for Macro Impact” project will use local dams to develop microhydropower. The project is expected to avoid 335 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually, equivalent to taking 70 cars off the road.

This project’s goals are to:

  • Evaluate microhydro opportunities on their campus
  • Standardize a replicable approach to microhydro
  • Develop and publicly share two model financing options: ownership and microhydro power purchase agreement
  • Launch NY Microhydro, a public online repository of all relevant research (ecological, technical, and logistical aspects)
  • Incorporate the project into existing curricula, undergrad/graduate research, and internships

SUNY University at Buffalo

The University at Buffalo (UB) will implement the “Localizing Buffalo’s Renewable Energy Future” project, which will install 100 megawatts (MW) of clean solar power throughout the city. The implementation involves partnership with the City of Buffalo and several not-for-profit and educational partners.

This project’s goals are to:

  • Help the City of Buffalo meet the Localizing Buffalo initiative's goal of creating 100 MW of new solar by 2020 that is manufactured in Buffalo, connected by Western New York workers, installed in the city's urban core and university campuses, and utilized by key regional anchoring institutions.
  • Leverage renewable energy power agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower energy costs
  • Demonstrate how a college or university can partner with its community to transform the local energy ecosystem
  • Integrate courses and programs into UB curricula and internships

SUNY Broome Community College

Broome Community College’s “Geothermal Learning Laboratory” project includes installing a closed loop geothermal system that uses the heat energy stored in the earth; real-time, public data-sharing about the system’s operations; and development of hands-on, geothermal material for secondary schools.

This project’s goals are to:

  • Install a closed loop geothermal system
  • Create a geothermal learning lab housed in new student-centered Sustainability Sandbox, which provides students with access to data from the campus-wide energy management system for trials, assessment, and analysis
  • Establish a green revolving fund for implementing energy conservation measures identified by student-faculty teams
  • Student team members (8+) will enroll in a clean energy and sustainability course and receive honorarium to encourage active participation and longevity of interest