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SUNY Cortland joins 21-campus renewable-energy coalition

By Journal Staff


CORTLAND — SUNY Cortland announced it is among 21 public and private colleges in New York state that have formed a consortium to buy energy and renewable-energy credits from new, large-scale renewable-energy projects in the state.

The coalition, called New York Campuses’ Aggregate Renewable Energy Solution (NYCARES) seeks to “lower financial barriers to renewable energy by creating economies of scale,” according to a SUNY Cortland news release. The group plans to contract for supplies from qualified, large-scale solar, wind, hydroelectric, and energy-storage projects in the state to help provide for the energy needs of both large and small campuses.

“This innovative and cooperative approach will help colleges across the state reach their sustainability goals and strengthen SUNY Cortland’s reputation as one of the greenest campuses in the nation,” Erik J. Bitterbaum, president of SUNY Cortland, contended in the release. “It will enable us to make more efficient use of both our energy and financial resources.”

The SUNY-led consortium is in the process of hiring a consultant to help all member campuses negotiate power-purchase agreements to supply each campus with energy from a large renewable project. In all, the group is seeking a commitment for 150,000 megawatt hours of “green” energy a year — enough electricity to power a small city.

The consultant will also be tasked with seeking proposals for large-scale producers of sustainable energy to meet the 64-campus SUNY system’s annual 1.3 million megawatt-hour demand. 

“NYCARES hopes the size of the commitments will spur development of renewable energy projects in the regions surrounding the campuses,” the release stated. Those projects are needed to help the state meet its goal of raising the renewable-energy portion of the state’s electrical grid to 50 percent by 2030, according to the coalition.

SUNY Cortland is part of NYCARES’ steering committee, along with Cornell University, Ithaca College, Binghamton University, the University at Albany, SUNY Purchase, and Hudson Valley Community College. The SUNY administration coordinates the initiative.        

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