ENGIE will manage, finance and install two wind turbines and 15,000 solar panels on Keele University’s campus to support its pledge to be carbon-neutral by 2030.
The energy and services provider, which focuses on producing and supplying low-carbon energy, has agreed on a 25-year partnership deal with Keele University to fund, design, build and operate a multi-technology energy park to generate up to 50 per cent of the campus’s electricity requirements from renewable sources.
Keele’s new low-carbon energy project will see the development of two wind turbines, an industrial-size battery to store the energy generated, and 15,000 solar photovoltaic panels installed at ground level in fields at the edge of the campus.
After installation, the combined carbon emissions savings from the wind and solar farm will be around 1,500 tonnes a year – the equivalent of taking 800 cars off the road.
Excess electricity will be fed back to the local grid to provide zero-carbon energy to the local area, and the battery will help to balance the local and national electricity networks.
The partnership with ENGIE represents part of Keele’s response to the climate change agenda through the subsidy-free provision of clean, renewable energy, as part of its pledge to become carbon-neutral by 2030.
The university was one of the first to declare a climate change emergency in 2019 and is supporting Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council to become carbon-neutral. The energy project aligns with the government’s new 10-point plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, which highlights the West Midlands as a key area to help drive forward and build green jobs and industries.
As well as unlocking carbon savings, the programme will enable innovative research on the campus through Keele’s Institute for Sustainable Futures.
Professor Chris Fogwill, director of the institute, said: “From understanding the long-term impacts of large-scale renewables on viable agricultural land to assessing the value of multi-vector renewables and storage within Europe's largest smart energy network, and understanding the impacts of local renewable generation on user behaviour, this ambitious project will generate high-impact multidisciplinary research across the institute’s core themes.”
The university has already transformed its campus into a unique ‘living laboratory’ replicating a small town, to drive the clean energy transition required to achieve the UK’s ambitious climate change commitments.