Bard College in the US State of New York has been awarded government funding of US$1 million for a project to show how novel microhydro power generators can dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, be financed in different ways, and integrate into student curricula and workforce training.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the funding as part of part of the "Energy to Lead Competition." The competition was unveiled by the Governor in October 2015 and challenged student-led coalitions from New York colleges and universities across the state to develop plans for local clean energy projects on campus and in their communities. Identical funding was also awarded to the
University at Buffalo, and Broome Community College.

Bard College’s "Micro Hydro for Macro Impact" project is expected to result in the avoidance of 335 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually, and will also include the launch of an online public information resource, "NY Micro Hydro," to help others install microhydro power throughout the state.

"The winners of this competition will transform ideas into real clean energy solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lower energy bills and improve resiliency for campuses and their surrounding communities," Governor Cuomo said. "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."

The Energy to Lead Competition is part of Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) strategy to build a clean, resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers. Through REV, New York State has set the following 2030 energy targets: generate 50 percent of electricity from renewable energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels and reduce energy consumption in buildings by 23 percent from 2012 levels. Collectively, the three winning college projects will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of taking 17,000 cars off the road each year.

The $3 million competition was administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and was open to student-led coalitions from two- or four-year public or private colleges or universities. The competition 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.

Applicants were required to demonstrate innovation in one or more of the following areas: project design, business model, partnerships, and/or curriculum integration. They were also asked to describe the project’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions, how they would measure success and how they would use the $1 million award to advance the project.