How the Cambridge Colleges Consortium is empowering its local community through renewable energy generation – FE News

As the UK continues its journey to net zero, more companies are looking for ways to show their environmental commitment.

A significant part of this aid supports the production of renewable energy and the development of a smarter and greener electricity network.

To do this, companies will often buy renewable energy certificates or choose green tariffs from energy suppliers. However, as companies look to go the extra mile, many are now partnering with local renewable energy producers, often through corporate power purchase agreements (CPPAs). This guarantees the origin of their energy and the long-term supply of renewable energy.

But the benefits don’t stop there. As businesses can source electricity from a generator in a specific region, there is a real opportunity to build goodwill among local communities. Local energy has the potential to boost local economies and create additional income for those who get involved. This is likely to be welcomed by a company’s stakeholders – many of whom have strong ties to the region and will be interested in the transparency that local production offers.

For this reason, it becomes a high priority for businesses that wish to show their environmentally conscious employees, customers and other stakeholders how committed they are to supporting and improving the local region.

For example, the Cambridge Colleges Consortium (CCC) recently opted for a three-year contract with Drax, one of the main criteria being that they source as much energy as possible from the Cambridgeshire area.

The contract with Drax guarantees a 100% renewable energy supply from local generators at its 1,200 non-half-hourly metering points in its 31 colleges. This decision allows CCC to meet its business requirements, while remaining on track to meet its sustainability goals for the future.

The contract also includes the installation of SMETS2 smart meters at eligible sites in college buildings, which allows CCC to monitor energy consumption in real time. This provides CCC with the information it needs to better understand the energy consumption of its portfolio and get the most out of the renewable energy it purchases.

Cambridge Colleges is just one example of organizations prioritizing local energy as a way to support the nation’s sustainable development goals. By investing in local power generation, businesses can tap into local generators, increasing the UK’s renewable energy capacity and helping to stabilize the grid.

Through the power of provenance, we will unlock the full potential of the UK’s renewable energy sector.

By Valpy Fitzgerald, Director of Renewable Energy at Drax

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