Cornell University’s Community and Regional Development Institute working on Southern Tier Regional Bioenergy Partnership
Cornell involved in Southern Tier Regional Bioenergy Partnership
A regional bioenergy industry cluster could provide a new base for economic development, say members of the SUNY Business and Education Cooperative of the Southern Tier.
A new program, called the Southern Tier Regional Bioenergy Partnership, is attempting to bring together planners, economic development leaders, educators, farmers, investors and other interested parties seeking to foster growth of a renewable bioenergy industry within the next 10 years. Disparate economic entities need to join together, especially in a global economy, for the effort to be successful, said speaker Heidi Mouillesseaux-Kunzman, an extension associate with Cornell University’s Community and Regional Development Institute, who has been working on the project for three years.
“We don’t have the resources to do it alone anymore,” she said.
Along with private investors, joining to hear the discussion were officials from various governments, organizations and educational institutions including Binghamton University, Broome Community College, SUNY Cortland, the City of Binghamton, the Village of Owego, Broome County Legislature, among others.
The region is resource rich, Mouillesseaux-Kunzman said. Combine those resources with a skilled manufacturing workforce and a higher education infrastructure, she said, and the community has the ingredients for a successful effort. The 8-county region for the program includes Broome, Tioga, Chenango, Delaware, Tompkins, Schoharie, Cortland and Otsego counties.
Several steps are necessary to make the dream become a reality. Among those steps are promoting regional assets, creating regional leadership, developing research and development programs, creating an informed citizenry and establishing a sustainable source of funding, speakers said.
In the next 18 months, the group will publicize the program and conduct an inventory of the region’s assets, said Erik Miller, director of the Southern Tier East Regional Planning Development Board. Some projects are already in beyond the planning stage, however, including environmental energy and bio-mass boilers, he said.