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Cardiff joins project to cut energy costs

9 January 2019

Wind turbines and solar panels

Cardiff University is joining a ground-breaking project which aims to cut energy costs and carbon emissions across the UK’s public sector estate.

The innovative pilot scheme will develop smart, integrated energy solutions to reduce the energy footprint of public sector sites, stimulating a potential £100bn annual global market.

Modern Energy Partners (MEP) is a collaborative project between the Cabinet Office, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Crown Commercial Services and Energy Systems Catapult, working with private sector specialists. It received £2m in funding from the BEIS Energy Innovation Programme.

The project aims to grow private sector expertise in cutting-edge smart, integrated and optimised energy efficiency solutions that combine low carbon generation, storage and energy demand management, to benefit both the public sector estate and the wider energy system.

Carbon Trust and its supporting consortia will work with Cardiff University to develop integrated energy solutions across the University estate. Other UK public sector sites chosen for the pilot include two army barracks and a prison.

Professor Colin Riordan, Vice-Chancellor, Cardiff University, said: “We announced last year that Cardiff University would stop investing in fossil fuels by 2021. Environmental sustainability is a core value of our strategy, The Way Forward 2018-23. We are delighted to be working with the MEP project across our estate."

It perfectly complements our fossil fuel divestment and our pledge to phase out the use of single-use plastic by 2023. It sends a clear and positive message that we are committed to environmental sustainability and tackling climate change.

Professor Colin Riordan Cardiff University

John Nangle, Crown Commercial Lead for Energy, Cabinet Office, said: “There is a critical need to overcome existing barriers to the acceleration of the smart, integrated and optimised market, including the current lack of expertise in this space.

“MEP seeks to address this challenge by working with the private sector supply chain to develop solutions within campus-scale sites across the public sector estate. These sites are ideal for cost-optimised energy system transformation because their consumption is big enough for energy efficiency and demand management solutions to have material economic impact, but not so large as to be unmanageable.”

“We welcome the appointment of our private sector partners to the first wave of sites, representing the formal launch of the project.”

Key focus areas for the project will include optimising energy use and assets at target sites and with neighbouring sites; preparing facilities for future energy demands, such as take-up of electric vehicles; and exploring how the public sector estate can support wider energy system transformation by using flexible assets and system supportive design.

In parallel, MEP will work with suppliers to develop a generic methodology that supports the roll-out of integrated energy efficiency solutions across the public sector estate from 2019 and the private sector from 2021. This includes the development of public sector design requirements for an integrated energy solution across individual sites that can be efficiently procured, financed, installed and operated.

Nick Smailes, Director of MEP at Energy Systems Catapult, said: “Through Modern Energy Partners, we have an unprecedented opportunity to deliver savings for the public purse and simultaneously tackle the decarbonisation challenge.

“We aim to do this by developing integrated solutions that can self-generate energy using the most appropriate renewable sources; store, monitor and manage energy demand, and share energy between sites, which together can realise not insignificant economic benefits.”

The Modern Energy Partners project is closely aligned with the Government’s Clean Growth and Industrial Strategies, while helping fulfil Green Investment Task Force recommendations. It is borne out of a £400k feasibility study – Energy System Integration Guides (ESIG): Distributed Energy – which investigated how the public sector estate could help stimulate the market on campus-scale sites and delivered an early pilot methodology for developing energy efficiencies.

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