The £8.1m low carbon energy generation (LCEG) project will see Engie develop a wind, solar and battery storage park, that will generate 50% of the university’s power.
Up to 15,000 solar photo-voltaic (PV) panels will be installed in fields on the edge of the campus along with two wind turbines, that together will connect to the Keele’s campus microgrid.
Engie was awarded preferred bidder status in December 2019 and has since worked with the university to develop the concept and design. The LCEG will consist of 5.5MW of ground mounted solar PV, 1.7MW of wind and 1MW / 2MWh battery storage.
Construction on the new energy park will begin this month and is expected to be fully operational by December 2021. Engie will run it for 25 years under the deal.
Keele University wants to be net zero carbon by 2030. It also has a Smart Energy Network Demonstrator (SEND) programme to transform the campus into a testbed for renewable and low carbon energy technologies.
Carl Foreman, head of renewables for Engie UK & Ireland, said: “Keele University is trailblazing change in both the education sector and in terms of the green agenda. Universities spend huge sums in utility bills every year and this progressive energy park scheme will offer an exemplar in low carbon energy generation for higher education estates.
“Our business is centred on finding profitable, zero carbon solutions for our clients in both the public and private sector and this project offers a prime opportunity to showcase our capabilities. We will own and operate the energy park through its 25 year life span and that investment demonstrates our commitment to the success of the scheme.”
Deputy vice-chancellor Mark Ormerod said: "This major campus low carbon energy project in partnership with Engie is a hugely exciting development for Keele University. Having significant renewable energy generation on our campus has been a strategic ambition for several years as a key component of our very ambitious low carbon sustainability vision for Keele.
“Having this level of on-site low carbon energy generation directly coupled to being Europe's largest smart energy network demonstrator will not only deliver a very substantial reduction in our carbon emissions as we strive to become a zero-carbon campus, it will provide an outstanding demonstration of smart and low carbon energy technologies."