e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry
e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

ESF Joins 19 New York Colleges and Universities to Purchase Large-Scale Aggregated Renewable Energy

Consortium will provide cost savings on renewable energy and reduce the campus carbon footprint

The Gateway Center

The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) 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 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 an important partnership among New York's higher education institutions."

"Energy use and its contribution to our carbon footprint has been an area of focus for us and as a result, we have been able to reduce our energy costs by 50 percent," said Dr. David Amberg, ESF interim president said. "We manage our 25,000 acres of forest properties to sequester carbon further reducing our carbon footprint. This year we will be completing our first campus energy master plan and the SUNY renewable energy purchasing consortium will be a critical component to this plan."

"As SUNY's "environmental school," sustainability is a focus of much of what we do at ESF," said Amberg. "These efforts have led to a number of recognitions including the ninth highest ranking in AASHE's Sustainable Campus Index of doctoral-granting institutions, STARS (Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System) Gold Status, being named the No. 2 Greenest School by Princeton Review and No. 3 Cool School by The Sierra Club."

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 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 RFP is expected to be issued later this year, with operations to begin as soon as December 2020.

Oher colleges are participating in the NY HE LSRE consortium are University at Albany, Binghamton University, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Cortland, SUNY Delhi, SUNY Empire State College, SUNY Fredonia, SUNY Geneseo, Hudson Valley Community College, SUNY Maritime, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Oneonta, Onondaga Community College, SUNY Oswego, Purchase College, Bard College, Cornell University, Ithaca College and Skidmore College.