Cornell and 20 New York Universities Form Renewable Energy Purchasing Consortium

December 18, 2018 Campus Sustainability Office
Overhead drone shot of the Cornell Harford solar array

Over 20 State University of New York (SUNY) and private NYS higher education institutions have joined together to form a consortium for developing and purchasing new, large scale renewable energy projects in New York State. The newly launched NY Higher Education LSRE Project seeks to lower financial barriers to renewable energy procurement through combined purchases.  The consortium plans to consider large-scale solar photovoltaic, wind, hydroelectric and/or energy storage projects for development in New York State. 

The consortium’s stated vision is to “create positive change in our regional renewable energy market, advance partnerships between New York State higher education campuses, and help us advance our academic missions by powering our campuses in a manner that is financially viable, environmentally conscious and socially just.”

All 16 campuses in the SUNY system and the Cornell University Ithaca campus are working towards a goal of purchasing or producing electricity from 100 percent zero-net-carbon sources.  To reach this goal, the group identified a need to solicit new projects in the state, which will supply new renewable energy resources and promote the development of a "green economy," keeping jobs and economic benefit within the state.  Potential benefits for members include lower costs for renewable energy procurement, mitigation against volatile gas prices, and new research opportunities for faculty, students, and researchers. 

Sarah Zemanick, Director of the Campus Sustainability Office at Cornell University, noted that “As the land-grant university to New York state our commitment to sustainability begins on campus and extends beyond our boundaries."

"We are pleased to be a founding member of  the NY Higher Education LSRE Project. Purchasing net-zero electricity brings our campus one step closer to meeting our carbon neutrality goals.”

The consortium will help meet state goals, too. New York State’s Reforming the Energy Vision plan aims to raise the renewable contribution of the state’s grid to 50 percent by 2030. The project will accelerate renewable energy development and purchases to help meet the state goal. 

The consortium aims to solicit projects ready for operation no later than 2020.

Media Contact: Jeff Tyson, Media Relations, Cornell University 607-255-770 jeff.tyson@cornell.edu 


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