The College Union at sunset. (SUNY Geneseo photo/Keith Walters '11)
Geneseo is a member of the NY Higher Education Large Scale Renewable Energy (NY HE LSRE) consortium of 20 public and private higher education institutions for the purchase of large-scale aggregated renewable energy. The consortium represents one of the state’s largest aggregated purchases of renewable energy to date.
“By taking a cooperative approach to the purchase of renewable energy, these campuses will be better able to meet their sustainability goals and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels,” said SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. “The consortium provides a cost-effective way of achieving campus carbon neutrality, with the power to transform the regional renewable energy market. It also creates important partnerships among New York’s higher education institutions.”
The consortium will provide cost savings on renewable energy and reduce the campus carbon footprint.
"SUNY Geneseo has a long-standing commitment to sustainability and is proud to partner with other like-minded higher education institutions to advance our sustainability goals,” said President Denise A. Battles. “We look forward to the strides we will make in reducing our carbon footprint through this important consortium."
Geneseo is also a signatory to Second Nature’s University and College Presidents’ Carbon Commitment. “As an institution that holds sustainability as one of its core values, Geneseo has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2050,” said Dan DeZarn, director of the Geneseo Office of Sustainability. “This partnership offers an opportunity to take a giant step toward meeting those goals. It also offers us an opportunity to serve as a leader in encouraging the development of renewable energy projects in our region and beyond.”
The consortium, made up of 16 SUNY campuses and four private colleges, will use its collective purchasing power to develop new renewable projects by contracting for renewable energy at scale. The process will normalize the cost of electricity for the individual colleges and reduce volatility in each institution’s energy budget. The NY HE LSRE process will eventually expand to all 64 SUNY campuses, which will help advance Governor Andrew Cuomo’s statewide goal of having 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2040.
SUNY has already reduced its carbon footprint from 1.02 million metric tons in 1990 to 770,000 metric tons in 2017, decreasing its greenhouse emissions by nearly 25 percent. The reductions in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions come in spite of a 50 percent increase in the system’s total square footage.
Technologies such as solar, wind, hydroelectric, biogas, biofuel, and fuel cells, are expected to be viable sources. The request for proposals is expected to be issued later this year, with operations to begin as soon as December 2020.