Bard CEP to Lead Micro-Hydro Stakeholder Process

Sawkill Creek

Sawkill Creek

Over the next two years, students and faculty at the Bard Center for Environmental Policy will develop and test a “stakeholder process” to help communities and landholders evaluate the potential for micro-hydro installations. The initiative is part of a broader research focus at Bard on micro-hydro potential in New York State.

Bard College was recently 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.

Students in the graduate Environmental Policy class will explore stakeholder interest and response to a proposed new power-generating installation on a campus creek. Using this case study, they will develop a template process to support community involvement when new power generation is being evaluated. There are over 6700 old mill dams in NY State alone, and micro-hydro generation— if an ecologically sound alternative– provides a potential funding source to support the maintenance of these structures.

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.

About Eban Goodstein