Binghamton University’s New Energy NY Project was selected in December as one of the nation’s first awardees for Phase 1 of the American Rescue Plan’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge.
The award opens up two opportunities to the University, says U.S. Sen. Majority Leader Charles Schumer, who advocated for the proposal. It provides $500,000 in technical assistance funding that the University will use to develop its proposal to turn the Southern Tier into an energy technology hub. It also allows the University to compete in Phase 2 of the challenge.
“This award will make the New Energy NY project eligible for up to $100 million in federal funding to transform the Greater Binghamton area and broader upstate New York region, create thousands of jobs, fuel the innovation necessary to combat climate change, and importantly, strengthen a critical area of the U.S. domestic manufacturing supply chain,” Schumer says. “I am proud to have fought for the New Energy NY project to be selected for Phase 1 and I will continue to fight tooth and nail to secure the final award and supercharge this growing area of the Upstate New York economy.”
This initiative will not only create jobs and improve the regional economy; it’s also crucial to our nation’s energy goals and energy security efforts, says chemist M. Stanley Whittingham, Binghamton University distinguished professor and 2019 Nobel laureate.
“Our NENY proposal can turn our region into an energy technology hub that has the potential to turn out advancements that will have national and global impacts,” Whittingham says.
With the appropriate support, Binghamton can become a national hub for battery innovation, manufacturing and workforce development, University President Harvey Stenger said. “We thank Sen. Schumer for his support on this as well as all that he does for our University and we thank the EDA for understanding and supporting our vision and providing us the necessary resources to move this forward,” he said.
The University has a track record of successful collaborations with industry partners, says Bahgat Sammakia, vice president for research at Binghamton. “We’re fortunate to have an experienced, well-respected innovator like Stan leading the way and pushing our region and our country to take bold action for a more environmentally friendly future,” Sammakia says.
Binghamton was chosen by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) for the project, which will bring together the University, SUNY Broome Community College, Rochester Institute of Technology, NY-BEST and others to develop a proposal for Phase 2 of the competition. The proposal will focus on expanding research, development, testing and workforce assets to meet the demand of the emerging battery manufacturing industry in the Southern Tier and upstate New York.
“Binghamton University is honored and excited to lead a coalition of premier organizations from across New York State to help the U.S. meet the critical and growing demand for domestic battery products,” says Per Stromhaug, associate vice president of the Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Partnerships and regional economic competitive officer for the project.
If fully funded, the project estimates that as many as 8,000 jobs would be created during a 10-year period.
Schumer said that the Build Back Better Regional Challenge received 529 Phase 1 applications from across the United States, and the New Energy NY project was one of 60 proposals selected as a Phase 1 awardee.
In Phase 2, the EDA will award 20 to 30 regional coalitions $25 million to $75 million, and up to $100 million, for projects to grow new regional industry clusters or scale existing ones through planning, infrastructure, innovation and entrepreneurship, workforce development, access to capital and more.
I am interested in whether the BU activity will also consider and include the potential for hydrogen as related to technology and batteries as a source for power.