Five institutions in Buffalo, NY have come together to seek 100 megawatts of new renewable generation. Enough to provide about half of the energy used by the institutions. The University at Buffalo (UB) is leading the request for proposals (RFPs) for it and SUNY Buffalo State, SUNY Erie, the City of Buffalo, as well as Erie County as part of the Localizing Buffalo’s Renewable Energy Future initiative.
The initiative seeks to add onsite and off-site renewable energy generation including wind and solar power. The initiative issued RFPs for on-site solar installations for each of the partners.
“This initiative has the potential to create significant savings for the university and our partners. It allows us to take a triple bottom line approach that creates cleaner air, better stewarding of our natural resources, more efficient budgeting and cost savings,” said UB Vice President for Finance and Administration Laura Hubbard.
UB was selected as a winner of the Energy to Lead Competition, an initiative by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). The initiative is under Cuomo’s REV Campus Challenge, which helps colleges and universities in the state implement clean energy projects.
For this RFP students at UB’s School of Architecture and Planning initially identified 260 potential sites across Western New York for renewable energy installations. That was cut down to 83 viable sites which were then evaluated by Edison Energy for those in the initiative. Sites were evaluated for rooftop solar potential and rooftops were audited for age, shading, warrantee status and more.
Launching an RFP with five anchor institutions in New York brought new challenges, which included New York procurement law and existing administrative processes. At the same time creating a consortium of renewable energy buyers to leverage scale was new. Both required the institutions to innovate to work within current processes.
“SUNY Erie is proud to engage in a cooperative project that keeps with our mission to support local job growth, while helping to develop renewable energy sites throughout the region. Our campus community will benefit greatly from stable energy costs allowing us to redirect anticipated savings to other areas in support of our students,” SUNY Erie President Dan Hocoy said.
“The City of Buffalo’s participation in this solar energy initiative is a continuation of my administration’s efforts in making Buffalo a cleaner, greener and more sustainable city,” added City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. “Not only will it help lower our energy costs and provide energy from a clean and renewable source, it will also help create new jobs in the renewable energy sector for city residents.”
Once the projects are selected, built, and brought online the power from each will be consumed by the consortium partner on whose property the infrastructure is built, UB explained. The institutions will sign power purchase agreements for each RFP selected.
The region of Buffalo has been working to reinvent itself as a renewable leader and has lured some big projects. For instance, Tesla and Panasonic created Gigafactory2 there where they’re building solar panels for Tesla.Tweet