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Collaborative Clean Energy Deals: Universities Lead the Way

By The Switch365 Team (03/06/2024)

collaborative clean energy deals, renewable energy sources like wind farms, and university sustainability initiatives

In a landmark move towards sustainability, UK universities are pioneering collaborative clean energy deals, setting a precedent for other public sector organisations. This guide explores how universities are leading the way with innovative power purchase agreements (PPAs) to source renewable energy, reduce carbon emissions, and stabilise energy costs.

The Landmark Deal: A New Model for Clean Energy

In October 2019, a groundbreaking deal allowed 20 UK universities to directly source clean, renewable energy from wind farms in Wales and Scotland. This £50 million agreement, facilitated by Squeaky Clean Energy and The Energy Consortium, guarantees the price of power over a 10-year period. The deal not only ensures a stable energy supply at a fixed price but also significantly cuts carbon emissions and energy bills.

Benefits of the Collaborative Deal

  • Fixed Energy Costs: The agreement locks in energy prices, protecting universities from market volatility.

  • Carbon Reduction: By sourcing energy from wind farms, the universities substantially reduce their carbon footprints.

  • Long-term Sustainability: The fixed price and reliable energy source support the universities’ sustainability goals and climate commitments.

Simplifying the Agreement Process

The success of this collaborative clean energy deal can be attributed to the simplification of the PPA process. Traditionally, PPAs involved complex agreements spanning over 120 pages. However, the introduction of standardised documentation reduced this to just 15 pages, making the process more accessible and manageable.

Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs)

A PPA is a contractual agreement to purchase electricity at a predetermined price over a specified period. This mechanism has been widely used by large corporations like Google and Sainsbury’s. However, the cost and complexity of traditional PPAs have historically been a barrier for universities and smaller organisations. By joining forces, the universities were able to overcome these barriers and leverage their collective purchasing power.

collaborative clean energy deals, renewable energy sources like wind farms, and university sustainability initiatives

Leading by Example: The Role of Universities

Many universities in the UK have declared a climate emergency and are committed to achieving carbon neutrality. This collaborative PPA is a significant step towards these goals. Universities such as Newcastle, Exeter, and Aberystwyth are not only securing their energy needs but also setting an example for other public sector organisations and smaller businesses.

Promoting Renewable Energy Generation

The UK government has pledged to end all coal-fired electricity generation by 2025. The transition to renewable energy is a critical part of this plan. Between July and September 2019, renewables generated more electricity in the UK than fossil fuels for the first time. PPAs play a crucial role in supporting this transition by providing renewable energy generators with a guaranteed income stream, enabling further development without relying on subsidies.

Expanding Opportunities for Smaller Investors

The success of the university PPA deal highlights the potential for expanding this model to other public sector organisations and smaller businesses. By collaborating and leveraging collective purchasing power, smaller entities can access renewable energy at competitive prices, supporting broader sustainability efforts and stimulating growth in the renewable energy sector.

For more information on collaborative clean energy deals and renewable energy initiatives, visit the following links:

These resources provide valuable insights and strategies to help universities improve their energy efficiency and sustainability initiatives.