By ASHLEIGH LIVINGSTON
---- — PLATTSBURGH — Gifts from both the private and public sectors have propelled Clinton Community College's Wind Energy and Turbine Technology Program into the future.
The college has received $400,000 worth of state-of the-art equipment from General Electric and $280,000 in federal stimulus funds from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to be used in training students in the field of wind-energy technology.
"This is a red-letter day for Clinton Community College's Wind Energy and Turbine Technology Program," CCC President John Jablonski said at a press conference Thursday at the school.
The donation from General Electric, the most significant in-kind gift the school has ever received, along with the NYSERDA funding, Jablonski said, allows the college to produce a highly trained workforce in the field.
Since its establishment in 2008, Clinton Community's Wind Energy Program, which remains the only associate-degree program of its kind in the Northeast, has received more than $600,000 in funding from NYSERDA.
NYSERDA President and CEO Francis Murray Jr. said the program is an integral part of the state's efforts to diversify its renewable-energy sources, stimulate job growth and reduce its carbon footprint.
“New York state alone generates as much renewable energy as the surrounding eight Northeast states combined.
“In order to continue our leadership as a state in renewable energy, we need a highly trained workforce with the experience of working on the latest renewable-energy equipment.
“We are proud to have found such a training partner right here in Clinton Community College," Murray said.
General Electric's gift to the college came in the form of a 1.5-megawatt generator and gearbox for students to train on.
This is the same equipment used to generate renewable energy in area wind parks, General Electric Energy Renewables Learning Leader Dan Lance told the Press-Republican at the event.
"They’ve got simulation training that they can do," Lance said of students. "But to be able to lay hands on the actual, real live equipment themselves, study how it works and study how to adjust it and how to maintain it is a great advantage for them.”
In addition to the gifts from General Electric and NYSERDA, Jablonski also announced Thursday that the college's wind-energy training facility will now officially be called the General Electric Wind Energy and Turbine Technology Lab.
General Electric, which has 250 turbines in wind parks in the North Country, has already hired graduates of Clinton Community College to be part of its wind-technician field team.
"This school has done a fantastic job," Lance said.
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