Government urged to support more local energy trials at UK universities

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) has called for more local energy trials to take place on UK university campuses.

On 4 September, it published its report, Exploring the Evolution of Low-Carbon Local Energy, in which it called on government to incentivise more trials on campuses to both encourage innovation and support universities in meeting their own decarbonisation targets. It explained that university campuses are uniquely suited to test new technologies owed to their academic expertise alongside ownership of large areas of land and buildings.

Other recommendations made within the report included that the implementation of the proposed Smart Export Guarantee should be a priority; UK government and devolved administrations should carry out reviews into the planning system, against the suspicion low-carbon local energy projects are being held back by unnecessary strict regulations; and that IMechE and similar organisations create an evidence base for determining how successful previous local energy projects have been.

Matt Rooney, Engineering Policy Adviser at IMechE, said: “Local energy is evolving fast. With high levels of academic and technical expertise, as well as ownership of large areas of land and buildings, university campuses offer unique environments for trialling new technology. Universities also have environmentally conscious student bodies who care deeply about climate change and will be enthusiastic to trial innovative technologies and test new approaches.”