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Delivering a genuine reduction in the University's energy-related carbon emissions

The University of Cambridge is one of a group of twenty UK universities that has struck a landmark deal to buy £50m of renewable energy from windfarms, providing a stepping stone towards zero carbon.

The group of universities has joined forces to enter into a power purchase agreement (PPA) that was arranged by energy brokers The Energy Consortium (TEC) and Squeaky Clean Energy. The deal provides power from Europe’s largest producer of renewable energy, Statkraft, to the universities, at a fixed rate for the next ten years. This PPA is the first time such a deal has been struck outside of the corporate sector in the UK.

In July 2019, Cambridge became the first University in the world to announce it had adopted a 1.5 degrees science based target for carbon reduction. Professor Ian Leslie, Senior Adviser to the Vice-Chancellor with special responsibility for Environmental Sustainability, says that this PPA is just one measure that the University is taking to meet its new target:

“The PPA will provide 20% of the University’s electricity from a specific renewable energy generator for the next ten years, and deliver a genuine reduction in our energy-related carbon emissions. I hope we will be repeating this again in subsequent years adding a significant ten-year contract each year. This would mean after ten years we will be replacing an expiring contract with a new one. The size of these contracts will depend on our own renewable generation, our switch from gas to electricity, and the improved energy efficiency of our existing and new buildings.

“We are also working hard to address our indirect carbon emissions, for example those arising from business travel and our supply chain. While these are not currently covered by our science based target, they are significant and we will begin setting additional targets to cover these in the near future.”

Published

10 October 2019