Chancellor Kristina Johnson Announces New SUNY Clean Energy Roadmap in Partnership with New York State Agencies to Accelerate Progress Toward Governor Cuomo’s Goals

April 30, 2019

Chancellor Kristina Johnson Announces New SUNY Clean Energy Roadmap in Partnership with New York State Agencies to Accelerate Progress Toward Governor Cuomo’s Goals

NYPA, NYSERDA, DPS, and LIPA to Help Implement Chancellor’s Sustainability Vision to Use Electricity Powered by Renewable Sources, Increase Energy Efficiency, and Combat Climate Catastrophe

Albany – Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson announced The State University of New York is joining forces with New York State’s energy agencies to launch the Clean Energy Roadmap, which will accelerate progress toward Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030. The New York Power Authority (NYPA) is the effort’s lead agency, with input and cooperation from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the Department of Public Service (DPS), and the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA). The roadmap will achieve the Governor’s and Chancellor Johnson’s shared sustainability vision to use electricity from renewable sources, increase energy efficiency, and further combat climate catastrophe.

"By working with our partners in state government, SUNY has developed a blueprint for creating a clean, intelligent, and distributed energy ecosystem across all 64 SUNY campuses," said SUNY Chancellor Johnson. "As the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the nation, we have a responsibility to lead and be an example of how to reduce our carbon footprint by adopting innovative energy efficiency and renewable energy technology. My sincere thanks to NYPA, NYSERDA, DPS, and LIPA for their expertise and partnership. Together, we will foster a more sustainable future for SUNY students and staff, as well as all New Yorkers."

Funding for the work outlined in the Clean Energy Roadmap will come from current capital investment from New York State and resulting energy cost savings. There will be no funding taken from tuition, and all investments directed for academic and student programs and services will remain in place as previously directed. Instead, NYPA will work with key stakeholders to identify multiple strategies to help reduce potential financial burdens, contribute technical expertise, streamline procurement processes and permitting, and further support the clean energy vision of both Governor Cuomo and Chancellor Johnson.

Since 1990, SUNY has reduced its carbon footprint from 1.02 million metric tons in 1990 to 770,000 metric tons in 2017, decreasing its greenhouse emission by nearly 25 percent. In the last decade, SUNY has saved $19 million in energy costs. The reductions in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions comes in spite of a 50 percent increase in the system’s total square footage.

The roadmap includes plans to develop new building efficiency standards, energy management best practices, and a clean energy workforce across New York State. It also outlines strategies for leveraging SUNY’s academic and research capabilities to be a center for developing clean energy technologies and solutions. The effort is a prime example of state agencies working together to implement Governor Cuomo’s Green New Deal, a nation-leading clean energy and jobs agenda, and his Reforming the Energy Vision (REV), which will build a statewide energy system that is clean, resilient, and affordable for all New Yorkers.

SUNY’s efforts will accelerate progress toward the new 2025 energy efficiency target outlined in New Efficiency: New York. The target calls for the state to reduce energy consumption by 185 trillion British thermal units by 2025, the equivalent of powering 1.8 million homes. It also supports Governor Cuomo’s goal for 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2040.

"SUNY has an ambitious vision for energy efficient buildings and streamlined operations across the state and we, at the New York Power Authority, have the expertise and resources, along with our state energy agency partners, to make this clean energy vision a reality," said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA’s president and CEO. "NYPA will be working with our state energy partners to engage local stakeholders at the campus level to estimate project costs and benefits and prioritize high-impact, low-cost initiatives to pursue."

The roadmap outlines six clean energy goals:

  1. All campus grid-sourced electricity will be from renewable energy and energy storage.
  2. All campuses will achieve 40 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2030.
  3. All campuses will explore the feasibility of a microgrid that uses as much renewable energy as possible. One priority is serving facilities needed in the event of an emergency.
  4. All new SUNY facilities commencing design in 2019 and beyond will be evaluated for potential construction using net-zero carbon emission standards.
  5. All existing buildings will receive investments in deep-energy retrofits while performing related critical maintenance.
  6. All campuses will provide SUNY students with training to enter the clean energy workforce. Additionally, SUNY will provide training and updates to civil service positions related to holistic facility management.

The roadmap identifies 17 collaborative initiatives and prompts regular open discussion between the agencies and SUNY to accelerate efforts. NYPA will partner with the SUNY Construction Fund to identify and develop projects that deliver both energy and cost savings. A team of experts will visit every campus to outline and develop energy efficiency strategies.

Planned initiatives at SUNY campuses include: energy efficient LED lighting, demand-controlled ventilation, lectric vehicle charging stations, renewable resource development such as on-site solar generation, and collaborative research projects to accelerate clean energy innovation.

Another aspect of the roadmap includes training and expanding SUNY’s energy manager workforce. Facility maintenance staff will be trained as dedicated energy managers to identify and implement energy and sustainability projects. The energy managers will work closely with NYPA’s New York Energy Manager to monitor energy consumption and identify ways to save on energy costs and streamline operations.

Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, SUNY and NYPA have already partnered to complete energy-saving projects at more than 500 buildings on 20 campuses, reducing electrical demand by more than 6.2 megawatts and saving an estimated $10.8 million annually. SUNY and NYPA are currently working together to implement energy-saving measures at four SUNY campuses. Those projects, once completed, will reduce SUNY’s electrical demand by an additional 1.7 megawatts.

With SUNY’s support, New York is on a path to lead the nation in clean energy job growth, with jobs in the state’s clean energy sector growing 3.9 percent in 2017. To fuel this rapidly growing industry, New York is investing $15 million in workforce development and training initiatives at SUNY that will give students the opportunity to join this high growth field. As the nation’s largest comprehensive public university system, SUNY is well positioned to provide clean energy workforce development and training at scale.

To support SUNY’s Clean Energy Roadmap, NYSERDA and SUNY have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance the skills of SUNY’s staff and ensure they can take full advantage of current technology and systems on campus. NYSERDA will provide continuous access to programs that attract private-sector capital investment, overcome barriers to large scale use of clean energy, and enable SUNY campuses to benefit from energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Alicia Barton, president and CEO, NYSERDA, said, "SUNY’s Clean Energy Roadmap accelerates New York’s commitment to fighting climate change, while creating more sustainable and healthier campuses across the state. Under Governor Cuomo, New York is leading by example once again by finding collaborative and innovative ways to demonstrate the many benefits of reducing carbon emissions and transitioning to clean energy can offer from bringing down energy costs to more comfortable living, and cleaner learning spaces for generations of students."

John B. Rhodes, CEO, New York State Department of Public Service, said, "We wholeheartedly applaud SUNY’s ambitious and important commitment to clean energy, taking a leadership role in New York State. SUNY is going all-in – bringing its wide-ranging resources to bear to redesign its infrastructure, improve facility operations, train the workforce of tomorrow, and leverage its intellectual capital to develop new clean energy technologies and solutions."

Tom Falcone, CEO, Long Island Power Authority, said, "By developing a strategic energy plan, SUNY is setting an example for universities across our nation. LIPA is honored to work with our state energy partners to help SUNY’s clean energy vision become a reality. Under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, new strategic energy partnerships such as the Clean Energy Roadmap continue to stimulate investment and create jobs throughout New York."

About NYPA

NYPA is the largest state public power organization in the nation, operating 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. More than 70 percent of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. NYPA uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. For more information visit and follow us on Twitter @NYPAenergy, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and LinkedIn. Learn more about NYPA’s clean energy efforts.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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