SUNY Cobleskill Collaborative Receives $15 Million As Part Of Governor Cuomo’s NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program

NYS Bioenergy Learning Collaborative: SUNY College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill; SUNY College of Technology at Delhi; and SUNY College of Agriculture at Morrisville Propose Energy Production and Waste Reduction Initiative.


A $15 million grant to The NYS Bioenergy Learning Collaborative (NYSBLC), which is made up of SUNY College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill, SUNY College of Technology at Delhi, and SUNY College of Agriculture at Morrisville, is among four innovative projects awarded a total of $60 million by Governor Cuomo in round two of the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program. The economic development projects, awarded $15 million each, were developed and submitted by collaborations among 19 SUNY universities and community colleges.


The NYS Bioenergy Learning Collaborative (NYSBLC) proposes to develop three commercial-scale, one megawatt (1 MW) anaerobic biodigesters at each campus, resulting in energy production, waste reduction for the expanding dairy industry, and training academic and applied expertise for a scalable waste reduction energy producing initiative. The project helps to create an economical avenue to dispose of regional agricultural residuals including cow, horse and other livestock manure, and helps regional farms cost-effectively expand operations including increased capacity to handle waste from animals by supporting the expansion of Combined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) operations.


The project includes partnerships with yogurt producers Chobani and Fage, food processor Beech-Nut, local fast food restaurants including McDonald's and Burger King, Drainmasters, Price Chopper, Kraft Foods, MorningStar Dairy/Ultra Dairy, Freisland-Campania, Martin Growers and regional agricultural communities including dairy farms, feedlots, vegetable growers, apple growers, and other regional agri-businesses for feedstock supply.


The Collaborative is expected to create 200 construction jobs and 30 engineering and project management support jobs at each of the locations for a total of 690 jobs worth over $8 million. The project can also sustain approximately 75 private sector jobs in dairy production, food processing and yogurt manufacturing industries worth more than $3 million with $734,000 in payroll and benefits per year as academic support at the colleges.


The Governor first unveiled the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant program in May 2011. On August 9, 2011, Governor Cuomo signed the NYSUNY 2020 bill into law, which provided a rational tuition policy for the SUNY and CUNY systems, maintenance of State funding invested into each system, and capital funding for SUNY's four university centers. Round two of the program was announced by the Governor in his 2012 State of the State address with a $60 million appropriation enacted as part of the 2012-13 State Budget. A third round of NYSUNY2020 of $55 million along with a first round of NYCUNY 2020 of $55 million were announced in the 2013 State of the State and included in the 2013-14 Budget.


"The NYSUNY 2020 initiative ties our world-class SUNY system with the State's economic development goals to both create good jobs for New Yorkers and enhance our higher education curriculum and training and research programs," Governor Cuomo said. "I am pleased to award a second round of these grants to projects that will make significant investments to our economy and will grow our agricultural, health, manufacturing, technology and clean energy sectors and overall boost the economy in Upstate New York."


"SUNY colleges and universities in every region have teamed to spur immense economic development and job growth in answer to the Governor's NYSUNY 2020 challenge and the projects moving forward as a result of round two show great promise for our campuses and New York's communities," said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. "SUNY's systemness is indeed alive and well in New York State."

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