#PlanetPartners: Clean energy initiatives help Reading lead the way towards a green future
Release Date 13 May 2021
Helping Caribbean islands transition to green energy and taking great strides in decarbonising campus generation is putting the University of Reading at the forefront of efforts to secure a sustainable future.
The University’s institutional and research efforts are underpinned by the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are aimed at tackling societal and environmental challenges across the planet and are closely aligned with the University’s own strategy.
This May, the University of Reading is running a new #PlanetPartners campaign, inviting its entire community to share examples of work towards all the SDGs.
SDG7: Affordable and Clean Energy covers enabling access to reliable and affordable energy for all, and scaling up the supply of, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy for everyone. Hundreds of millions of people around the world currently lack electricity, with one in four in some developing countries having no access.
Examples of work by the University to address SDG7 include:
- Working with island states in the Caribbean, Pacific and Indian Oceans to help them transition to sustainable energy. The Institute for Environmental Analytics, based on campus, has provided data analysis to six island states through the Re-Sat project following a successful pilot in the Seychelles. Backed by £4.5m from the UK Space Agency International Partnership Programme, the partnerships are helping develop the best mix of renewable energy sources in each location and estimate variability in generation based on seasonal weather patterns.
- Using 100% renewable energy on campus, and set to quadruple our solar energy generation on Whiteknights campus in 2021.
- Removing all fossil fuel shares and bonds from our investment portfolio, and backing green schemes.
- Identifying the barriers before a green energy system, such as improving weather forecasting to make better use of wind power.
- Investigating how flexible use of energy in our homes could help avoid peaks in demand to lower prices and emissions, and presenting evidence to the Government.
- Offering tips for students to keep their energy costs down to support our institutional ambitions.
- Winning £4.7m funding as part of a research group, including technology companies and councils, that is monitoring energy use to improve the resilience of the energy grid to serve new homes.
Dan Fernbank, Energy and Sustainability Director at the University of Reading, said: “Energy consumption is a significant cost for the University, and has a significant environmental impact.
“We have purchased only 100% certified renewable electricity for over 10 years now, have a long track record of delivering energy-saving projects, as well continuously expanding our onsite renewable energy generation capacity.
“We aim to lead by example and become recognised as one of the leading universities in the world for environmental sustainability.”
Dr Maria Noguer, Programme Manager at the Institute for Environmental Analytics, said: “Re-Sat works as a true partnership with each of the governments and the communities of the seven small island developing states where we are sharing our world-leading climate service. We work with their energy transitioning teams to build their skills and empower them to meet the impacts of climate challenges on their own communities; supporting their pathways to net zero.
"Re-Sat translates cutting-edge climate and data research into meaningful information to underpin climate action and we start by working closely with the people who will be taking decisions based on the data. We are keen to work with other regions that are using the momentum of COP26 to increase their ambitions in the race to net zero.”
The UN’s SDGs incorporate themes across the ‘five Ps’: People, Prosperity, Planet, Peace and Partnership. These align with the University of Reading’s own strategic themes: Community, Excellence, Sustainability and Engagement.
This campaign follows the publication of the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2021, in which Reading participated for the first time and ranked in the top 200 globally, which scored participating universities on their support of the individual SDGs.
The University’s latest campaign is a continuation of the #PlanetPartners campaign launched by the University in October 2019, which is highlighting ways the University is working with global partners on projects that benefit the environment.
Follow the campaign and share your examples of work on Twitter: @UniofReading | Facebook: /theuniversityofreading | Instagram: @uniofreading | LinkedIn: University of Reading | TikTok: @uniofreading using the hashtags #PlanetPartners and #sdgoals