University invests in campus renewables to reduce carbon footprint

Keele University has been granted planning permission to generate up to 80% of its own electricity through solar and wind power.

The sustainability scheme will see up to 26,000 solar photo-voltaic (PV) panels installed at ground level in fields on the edge of the campus, and two wind turbines, which will power Keele’s halls of residence, the chapel, teaching facilities, and Keele Hall.

The development represents an important contribution to the University’s response to the climate change agenda through the direct provision of clean, renewable energy, as part of its ambitious pledge to become carbon neutral by 2030. The University was one of the first to declare a climate change emergency earlier this summer, and also supported Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council in its pledge to become carbon neutral.

After installation, the combined carbon emissions savings from the wind and solar farm will be very significant, and the Keele campus will only represent approximately 3% of the Borough’s entire carbon emissions from electricity consumption.

The development will also be an essential part of the infrastructure required to support Keele’s Smart Energy Network Demonstrator (SEND) initiative to transform the campus into a unique testing site for the evaluation of new and evolving renewable and low carbon energy technologies, along with the reduction of CO2 emissions.

For a third successive year, Keele has been ranked in the global Top 20 for sustainability in the latest UI Green Metric rankings, and this new development expands upon the excellent work already done to embed sustainability into everything that the University does.

Phil Butters, Director of Estates and Development at Keele University, said: “There is an important relationship between our new development and the challenges of climate change. Keele’s sustainability scheme will enable the University to be self-sufficient in electricity consumption - all of which will be delivered from renewable sources”.

“At a very micro-level, our planned programme of 20 new charging points for electric vehicles will also be using energy generated from the infrastructure and we are working to ensure that all new campus developments demonstrate high standards of sustainability.”

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost Professor Mark Ormerod said: “This is a hugely exciting development for Keele and will allow us to very significantly reduce our carbon emissions and energy costs, furthering our sector-leading commitment to sustainability and carbon reduction. It will support Keele in its ambitious plans to be carbon neutral by 2030 and deliver better energy management, a significant reduction in energy waste and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.”

The development is currently planned to become fully operational during 2021.

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