The Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) has called on the government to encourage more decarbonisation trials in higher education.
In its report, ‘Exploring the Evolution of Low-Carbon Local Energy’, it recommends that more trials should take place in university and college campuses to encourage new ideas and help education institutions meet their own decarbonisation targets.
The report examines the evolution of local energy from single technology to entire systems, which could include different technologies and energy storage together with ‘smart’ management systems. Some campuses date back to the 1960’s and 70’s, with some much older, and are a good testbed for developing the latest energy efficient technologies and reducing environmental impact.
The report goes on to make recommendations on the Smart Export Guarantee scheme, which aims to support smaller electricity generators, asking for careful monitoring to ensure developers are rewarded fairly and that barriers to entry are minimised.
The paper also suggests the planning system should be reviewed by government and devolved administrations with minimising regulatory barriers for low carbon projects in mind. The evidence base looking at how successful low carbon energy projects have been could be strengthened with government support and organisations such as the IMechE and similar organisations involved.
Universities could develop trials for new low carbon energy projects with government encouragement and partnerships between universities, students, academics, local energy companies/co-operatives and DNOs.
Energy expert view
“Encouraging the use of university and college estates for developing new energy technology and low carbon energy trials could prove fruitful.
“Research and development expertise may be available locally on site and, with encouragement through simplified regulation and development of partnerships, there may well be significant opportunity to demonstrate new approaches and technologies to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions.” Alastair Fells MEI, Incorporated Eng, PG Dip Fuel Tech, BSc Hons+