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Climate Action Plan case study: Investing in renewable energy

Soil with electrical wires in it
  • Written byEstates Team
Soil with electrical wires in it
Antonio Quiroga Waldthaler, 2019 BA Sound Arts and Design, London College of Communication, UAL | Photograph: Lewis Bush

Working with UK universities to support British wind power

In 2019, UAL joined forces with 20 of the UK’s leading universities in a £50m deal to buy renewable electricity directly from British wind farms.

Buying electricity direct from an energy source can work out cheaper. But this is usually reserved for big companies, with even bigger buying power. By coming together with other universities from across the UK, we have been able to secure a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). The PPA is for electricity that comes directly from the source for the next 10 years.

This means we know how our electricity is being generated, and who’s supplying it. So, we can play our part in reinvesting in the supplier. It also means we will have a fixed energy price for the next 10 years. Easier for budgeting and offers more protection in an everchanging energy market.

We have been using 100% renewable electricity since 2018. As part of this landmark deal, we now get 14% of our electricity directly from British wind farms. This is around 3 million kWh. Roughly the same amount of electricity used by London College of Communication and Wimbledon College of Arts every year.

By buying our electricity from the direct source, instead of the national grid, it means the electricity we use is zero-rated. Depending on the rate of decarbonisation of the national grid. This agreement will prevent between 2,700 – 4,500 tonnes of CO2 from being emitted over the 10-year contract. In 2020 alone, it stopped approximately 800 tonnes of CO2 from being emitted.