State allocation will help New York university build small hydro project

Funding announced last year by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will help Bard College install a small hydropower plant as part of the university’s “Micro Hydro for Macro Impact” initiative.

The $1 million in funding comes from a program administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), and was open to student-led coalitions from two- and four-year universities.

According to Bard — located in southeast New York along the Hudson River — the program “challenged 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 plant will be built on a historic estate known as Montgomery Place that Bard took ownership of in January. The property has several old dams which were identified by the college as part of a statewide survey of non-powered infrastructure as being capable of generating 100 kW of hydroelectricity or less.

“Students bring a unique urgency, passion and creativity to the fight against climate change, said Richard Kauffman, chair of energy and finance for New York. “As we remake our energy system in New York, we are thrilled to harness the leadership of our young people to help us do it faster, cheaper, and bigger than any other state.

“I look forward to the next phase, when our winners will turn these strong ideas into real projects for the benefit of their colleges, their communities and the state as a whole.”

Through Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) plan, the state has established a goal of generating more than half its power from renewable sources and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2030.

“I extend my congratulations to the winning students and faculty, and commend them for their commitment to combating climate change by building a cleaner and healthier environment.”

Cuomo’s administration has been supportive of New York’s hydropower sector throughout his tenure as governor, most visibly through the ReCharge NY program, which seeks to use hydropower allocations from the New York Power Authority (NYPA) to stimulate economic and industrial growth.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for

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