Low carbon project
The Low Carbon Energy Generation Project has now reached a stage where a planning application has been approved by the Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, allowing the scheme to progress. Work has been ongoing to secure a partner to install and operate the equipment, which will consist of a 5.5 MW solar farm, two wind turbines totaling 1.8 MW and a 1 MW battery storage system. Plans are for the generation site to be producing electricity early in 2021.
Covering 600 acres with 350 buildings, the University Campus is home to 10,000 students and 2,000 staff.
While we are one of the best performing organisations in our sector in terms of the level of carbon emissions per square metre of built environment, we are committed to reducing this further as part of our mission to research environmental sustainability and as a responsible organisation.
We have set ourselves a stretching target, with the University announcing an ambitious climate emergency target to be carbon neutral by 2030. With significant demands on energy from the University’s population, we currently produces around 12,500 tonnes of carbon per year which, thanks to a raft of efficiency activities, is still lower than the 1990 baseline despite over a 30 per cent growth in the university.
With a series of initiatives already in place – including on-site energy management, £2.4 million invested in new technologies to reduce consumption and a behaviour change programme – our focus has now shifted onto increasing our own renewable energy generating capacity to provide substantial carbon savings.
Currently we generate around five per cent of our own energy from a combination of solar PV panels, a biomass boiler and a combined heat and power engine. We want, and need, to grow this figure.
Photo (viewed from Butterton):