Minister for Climate Change visits Keele University

The Minister for Climate Change praised Keele University‘s sector-leading work on sustainability and developing new green energy solutions in a visit to campus today marking exactly six months until COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference that will be held in Glasgow in November.

Lord Callanan, the Minister for Climate Change and Corporate Responsibility in the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, made the visit to learn about the impact of the pioneering climate action projects taking place at Keele University.

During the visit, Lord Callanan toured the Horwood Energy Centre, home to Keele’s Smart Energy Network Demonstrator – the first of its kind in Europe, spoke with members of Keele staff working on the projects, and met Keele’s partners Siemens and ENGIE.

In partnership with Siemens, the Keele campus has been transformed into a world-class Smart Energy Network Demonstrator (SEND) – a European first ‘at scale living laboratory’ that enables the testing, development and evaluation of new and evolving low carbon energy technologies, as well as supporting hundreds of businesses to embed sustainability throughout their organisations.

Lord Callanan also visited the site of our new Low Carbon Energy Generation Park which will see the installation of two wind turbines, 12,500 solar panels and an industrial scale battery on site through a new partnership managed and financed by ENGIE, to enable the University to produce at least 50% of its campus electricity requirements from renewable sources on the Keele campus.

 Keele was one of the first universities in the UK to declare a climate emergency in 2019 and has recently published Climate Action Framework principles, outlining our holistic approach to tackling the climate crisis as the University strives to become carbon neutral by 2030.

Recently the UK’s first ever trial to blend hydrogen with the natural gas network, HyDeploy, was completed at Keele in partnership with Cadent. Blending hydrogen offers the potential of significantly reducing carbon emissions associated with domestic and business gas use.

Keele is at the forefront of sustainability innovation and research, with its Institute for Sustainable Futures driving research into issues such as climate change, food security and clean energy on a local, national and global scale. This culminated in the University’s success at the 2021 Green Gown Awards where it was named Sustainability Institution of the Year, reflecting Keele’s commitment to embedding sustainability across all of its operations, including in its research, education, its external engagement, and its campus operations and community engagement.

Lord Callanan, Minister for Climate Change, said: "Climate change is a big threat facing us globally, which is why with 6 months to the COP26 climate summit in November it is fantastic to be here meeting the facility and future leaders who are driving green growth in our industrial heartlands.

"As well as transforming its campus to produce 50% of its own electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar, Keele’s pioneering green energy research can be rolled out nationally and globally, showing how the University is truly leading the way to a low carbon, energy efficient future."

Professor Mark Ormerod, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost and institutional lead for sustainability said: "Keele University is a sector leader in sustainability and the development of new green energy technologies, and it was a privilege to welcome Lord Callanan to campus today to showcase the excellent work which is taking place to help us be at the forefront of tackling the climate emergency.

"Projects such as SEND, HyDeploy and the Low Carbon Energy Generation project, are not only helping us to achieve our own sustainability ambitions, but are providing a blueprint for projects like this to be emulated in towns and cities around the world."