First-of-Its-Kind Agreement with Gravity Renewables Will Provide College Reliable, Predictable Low-Cost Energy for Decades
Saratoga Springs, N.Y. — Skidmore College and Gravity Renewables have established a first-of-its-kind agreement that will enable the College to meet 18 percent of its energy needs with the power generated at the historic Chittenden Falls Hydroelectric Facility in Columbia County. The new agreement will significantly reduce Skidmore’s greenhouse gas emissions and provide predictable low-cost power over the 20-year operating agreement.
The agreement represents the first hydroelectric project in the country to make use of “remote net metering”—the policy mechanism that, with National Grid as the intermediary, allows Skidmore to use power generated at Chittenden Falls, even though it is generated 60 miles from the campus. This switch to hydro power will enable Skidmore to reduce its carbon footprint by an estimated 3,000 tons per year.
Last week, Skidmore celebrated the completion of a photovoltaic solar array that will annually generate 2.6 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity, enough to meet 12 percent of Skidmore’s needs. Combined with the Chittenden Falls facility, that brings to 30 percent the total amount of Skidmore’s electrical demand that will be met by renewable power.
“Both projects show how we can develop new environmentally responsible and cost-effective energy sources through new partnerships and creative thinking,” said Philip A. Glotzbach, president of Skidmore College. “We are delighted to be joined with Gravity Renewables in this pathbreaking rebirth of electrical generation at Chittenden Falls.”
Glotzbach credited Michael Hall, special assistant to the vice president for finance and administration, for driving Skidmore’s participation in the project.
“We are locking in both cost-savings and a clean, reliable and predictable source of power for decades to come,” said Hall. “That’s what makes this project work.”
Chittenden Falls first started generating power in 1810 and was the subject of a 1981 John McPhee essay, “MiniHydro”, published in the New Yorker. The facility will be refurbished and preserved through the partnership—renovations include an on-site classroom that will serve as a learning resource for students and faculty. Previously the facility produced 2.6 million kWh annually; with the refurbishment made possible by the agreement Gravity expects to be able to increase the generation to as high as 4 million kWh each year.
“Skidmore College is establishing itself as renewable energy leader,” said Ted Rose, CEO of Gravity Renewables. “This project’s impact goes beyond the clean energy benefits. Skidmore is supporting one of upstate New York’s historic economic drivers—each small hydro facility employs local operators, pays taxes and supports the local economy.”
Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature’s strong commitment to locally produced renewable energy, as well as National Grid’s support, helped make this operating agreement possible. New York’s Net Metering Policy—which allows customers to apply renewable energy credits to other accounts they own—allows Skidmore College to sign the 20-year agreement for the power generated at Chittenden Falls. The agreement protects Skidmore against future price spikes or rate increases by locking in reliable, predictable low-cost energy at a fixed rate.
About Skidmore College
Founded in 1903 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Skidmore is a highly selective, independent, liberal arts college with an enrollment of about 2,400 men and women. The college grants bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees in nearly 50 areas, as well as the master of arts in liberal studies. Skidmore draws thousands of visitors to campus each year for a wide array of cultural and athletic events, and its students, faculty, and staff play active roles as volunteers with more than 40 nonprofit organizations in the region.
About Gravity Renewables
Gravity Renewables is a leading national owner, operator and developer of small hydroelectric power plants. Small hydropower provides predictable, reliable, affordable clean energy that’s locally produced. By making a long-term commitment to these neighborhood facilities, Gravity restores and conserves important historical sites, employs local operators and promotes educational and recreational opportunities in the communities it serves. Gravity currently has 30 MW of hydroelectric projects operating and under development in 7 states across the country. For more information please visit www.gravityrenewables.com or contact us at 303.440.3378. Follow Gravity Renewables on Twitter or Facebook.