The energy saver
When Mike Kelleher was two years old, he would spend his October days at the Topsfield Fair, an agricultural fair in Massachusetts. He rode the tractors. He doesn’t remember much else besides discovering a lifelong passion.
‘Since then, I’ve been attracted to agriculture,’ Kelleher said.
Kelleher is continuing his passion for the environment in his new position at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Recently, he was named the director of renewable systems at the school, the first to hold this position.
The new program, which will eventually become a minor at ESF, will focus on finding and using technologies to help the college save energy and produce energy from sustainable and renewable sources.
‘There is a big emphasis on conserving energy,’ Kelleher said.
ESF currently has several renewable technology systems on its main campus and other remote campuses, so Kelleher was hired to watch over the technologies.
‘We brought a number of renewable energy sources on campus, so we wanted an individual to come to focus on the technologies while bringing more to campus,’ said ESF President Cornelius Murphy.
Murphy said Kelleher was chosen because of his experience with utilities, and because he is an academic. Kelleher was a research economist and worked with the Department of Agricultural Economics at Cornell University.
Part of the initiative for the new project is to make the campus carbon neutral by 2015. ‘We’ve adapted the campus with a rather long list of things, and we are about 20 percent of the way, but we want to get to 100 percent,’ said Murphy. ‘The addition of Mike Kelleher will help us move toward the goal aggressively.’
Among the environmentally friendly proposals for becoming carbon neutral is a plan to place energy management systems in ESF buildings to increase the efficiency of the heating and cooling systems.
‘ESF is pleased and fortunate to have Mike Kelleher on board to help advance the renewable energy demonstrations and programs of the college,’ said Ed White, professor emeritus and director of the SUNY center for sustainable and renewable energy. ‘ESF is a leader in the renewable energy area as well as energy conservation and efficiency. Coming from National Grid, Mike brings a well of experience.’
For 18 years, Kelleher worked for National Grid, a London-based company, which recently took over the local electricity company, Niagara Mohawk.
He served as senior vice president for the Syracuse-based company, which provides electrical service to approximately 1.5 million customers and natural gas service to approximately 540,000 customers in upstate New York.
Kelleher hopes to use his experiences in business and education to teach students how renewable energy can be used in the real world.
‘Students have been interested in renewable energy, so I am looking very forward to working with them and using energy more efficiently,’ he said.
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