Keele University has agreed a 25-year deal with ENGIE as part of its plan to become carbon neutral by 2030.
The deal, announced on 9 December, will see ENGIE fund, design, build and operate a multi-technology energy park that generates up to 50% of the university’s campus electricity requirements from renewable sources. It will involve the development of two wind turbines, an industrial size battery for storing the generated energy, and 15,000 solar PV panels installed at ground level in fields on the edge of the campus. The combined emissions savings from the wind and solar farm are forecast to be around 1,500 tonnes per year.
Any excess electricity will be fed back to the local grid, with the battery helping to balance local and national electricity networks, while the project will also enable innovative research on the university campus through Keele’s Institute for Sustainable Futures.
Professor Chris Fogwill, Director of the Institute, explained: “This programme will underpin exciting research that seeks to understand the role decentralised energy production and storage combined with smart grids can play in the UK’s zero carbon transition. 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.”