The deal will provide power from onshore wind farms to universities including Exeter, Newcastle and Aberystwyth

University of Exeter signs clean energy deal

Universities including Exeter have joined forces to sign a landmark green energy deal.

Under the ground-breaking “aggregated power purchase agreements” (PPA), 20 UK universities will buy £50m of renewable energy from a portfolio of wind farms.

The deal fixes power prices at a competitive rate for the next ten years and will help to ensure that all of the University of Exeter’s electricity continues to come from renewable sources. 

The PPA, arranged by Squeaky Clean Energy in partnership with The Energy Consortium (TEC), means that Statkraft (Europe’s largest producer of renewable energy) will provide wind power from their British portfolio to universities including Exeter, Newcastle and Aberystwyth.

“The collaborative strength of TEC and the university sector have enabled this pioneering PPA, driving changes in the renewable energy supply market,” said Andy Seaman, Energy Manager at the University of Exeter.

“It is through this type of collaboration and innovation across all areas contributing to climate change that everyone can contribute to deliver a net zero carbon society.

“The PPA is part of our portfolio of measures to reduce fossil fuel usage and move towards net zero carbon.

“We have used the TEC’s frameworks to procure 100% renewable electricity since 2017, and we invest in onsite renewable generation that now includes over 700KW of solar photovoltaics.”

To meet the standards demanded by the universities, the PPA was structured so the power contractually comes from sources certified by the Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGOs).

Until now, the cost and complexity of arranging PPAs meant their advantages could only be enjoyed by large corporations with the in-house capability and resources to negotiate these agreements.

Additionally, there was little appeal from the other side of the equation – generators – to strike a PPA with smaller organisations as the scale of any deal was always too small.

But the breakthrough came via the establishment of standardised and simplified documentation that cut the size of the contract down to a previously unimaginable 15 pages, lowering transaction costs to an affordable level.

“By acting together in a collaborative approach facilitated by the energy expertise here at TEC, these institutions, whether large or small, have been able to navigate a previously inaccessible market,” said Richard Murphy, Managing Director of TEC.

“The combined challenge facing the Higher Education and wider public sector is to secure reduced carbon emissions whilst saving money, and I am delighted that these universities have secured both through this ground-breaking deal.”

In May, the University of Exeter declared an environment and climate emergency.

Professor Juliet Osborne, Director of the Environment and Sustainability Institute, is leading a working group bringing together staff and students to create a plan of action in response to the university declaring an environment and climate emergency.

Date: 7 October 2019